Arrest made in hit-run death of biker, native of Frankfort

By CHARLES PEARL State Journal Staff Writer Published:

An 18-year-old Georgia man has been arrested on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident after the Jan. 13 death of Frankfort native Jay Robert Cullen, who was struck by a vehicle while riding a bicycle.

Jeffrey Warren Petree, of Dahlonega, was still in jail Monday and no bond had been set, according to Master Trooper Benny Tallant, the investigating officer for the Georgia State Patrol in Cumming. Tallant said other charges may be filed.

The accident happened in Lumpkin County around 2:15 p.m. Jan. 13 on Georgia Highway 9, about three miles north of Dawsonville, where Cullen lived.

Cullen, 65, a retired Delta Airlines pilot who had completed two bicycle journeys across the United States, was riding north on a two-lane curvy, mountain road when he was struck by a northbound vehicle, Tallant said.

"The actual point of impact was just over a hill crest in a straight section," Tallant said. "I don't know why it happened. It was a perfectly clear day and the sun was not in anybody's eyes. Speed doesn't appear to be a factor, and Petree wasn't under the influence of alcohol or drugs."

What led officers to Petree, Tallant said, was some construction workers noticed a pickup truck "up the road with a flat tire." Petree was driving a 1994 Ford pickup, Tallant said.

There was an outstanding warrant on Petree on a charge of "mailbox bashing," Tallant said. "That's a felony, too, but that's not nearly as serious as what he's got himself into now. "From what I understand, the only other charges Petree has had against him are some speeding tickets."

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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