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McDuffie County school board member recovering after accident

McDuffie County school board member Bea Hart-Moss was recovering in a Savannah hospital Thursday. She underwent surgery Wednesday after she was injured in a car crash in that city.

Hart-Moss and others from McDuffie County were attending the summer conference of the Georgia School Boards Association.

Superintendent Jim LeBrun said the delegation would be in classes until 3:30. "Then we're going to the hospital to cheer up Miss Bea," he said by phone Thursday.

LeBrun said the board member's injuries were "nothing life-threatening, which is miraculous."

Hart-Moss suffered a broken arm, broken leg and broken foot.

Effingham County sheriff's spokesman David Ehsanipoor said four of the five people in the car that carried Hart-Moss were injured, with what appeared to be serious but not life-threatening injuries. They were taken to various hospitals. Their identities were not available Thursday.

The crash happened when a westbound car crossed the Interstate 16 median and struck the eastbound car in which Hart-Moss was a front-seat passenger. The driver of the other car, Alton Bennett, 68, of Marietta, was taken to Memorial Health University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Ehsanipoor said the occupants of the car carrying Hart-Moss were all wearing seat belts, and that airbags had deployed.

School Board President Rick McCorkle and board member Dorothy Hart were in another car, just ahead of the car Hart-Moss was driving, and witnessed the accident. They were not injured.

"We are praying for everyone involved in the accident," LeBrun said.

Also attending the conference are board members Ella M. Samuels, Bob Smith and Dexter Lovins.

Bea Hart-Moss, who represents District 1, was elected in 2010. She had served nine years on the school board previously, starting in 1993.

Hart-Moss, a bereavement minister and former Marine, served one year of an unexpired term and then was elected to two four-year terms on the school board.

She attended Thomson's Norris High School, where she graduated in 1966.

LeBrun said the annual school boards conference briefs board members on new state rules, regulations and laws. It also offers a chance to obtain continuing training that is required each year. The conference continues through Saturday.

Writers from the Savannah Morning News and the McDuffie Mirror contributed to this report.

Web posted on Thursday, June 16, 2011

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