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Accident claims Wayne County economic development director

By By Brian Livingston / Laurel Leader-Call
Aug. 29, 2003
WAYNESBORO The executive director of the Wayne County Economic Development Authority was killed instantly when he was struck by a sheriff's department patrol car on Highway 84 West.
Joe Johnson, 63, was trying to cross the eastbound lanes of the highway at about midnight Wednesday when he was hit. Johnson was attempting to turn off a spewing water leak at his mother's home, which had been struck by lightening.
Snyder and about 30 other people, including Johnson's wife and mother, witnessed the accident. Deputy Tim Hollingshead, who drove the patrol car, was treated for glass cuts and bruises.
Wayne County Sheriff John Stein Farrior could not be reached for comment.
Johnson learned that his mother's home was on fire while at a meeting in Jackson.
By the time he arrived, firefighters were monitoring the smoldering remains. Lois Johnson was unhurt in the blaze, which started at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The death of Johnson sent ripples through Wayne and Jones counties.
Billie D. Beard of Clara said she had known Johnson for 37 years and was devastated when she heard the news Thursday.