June 14, 2013

Chatsworth crash victim drove for Murray schools

Rachel Brown

— An off-duty school bus driver for Murray County Schools died Wednesday night when he crashed his pickup truck into a utility pole off Ga. Highway 225, officials said.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, Michael David Ray, 42, of Chatsworth, was traveling near Spring Place Smyrna Road at about 8:50 p.m. when his Toyota truck went off the road and hit the utility pole. Investigators are still working to determine why the truck veered off the road.

School system transportation director Johnny Ward said Ray was a good driver who was always on time and did his job well. He had worked for the school system since 2008 and drove a route for Spring Place Elementary.

“It’s just a great loss to us, and I hate it so bad,” Ward said. “Not only did we lose a good driver, we lost a good friend and a good man in the community.”

Karen Underwood said she didn’t see the wreck, but Ray’s truck came to rest in her yard. She said her son was inside when he heard a sound so loud it shook the whole building.

“It broke a power pole in half completely,” she said. “It was terrible, and I feel so sorry for the family members.”

Mike Tuck, the school system’s administrative services director, said everyone’s thoughts and prayers are with Ray’s family.

A state patrol spokesman said Ray was not wearing a seat belt when he crashed.

A memorial service for Ray will be Saturday at 6 p.m. in the chapel of Peeples Funeral Home of Chatsworth. The family will receive friends on Saturday after 3 p.m.