VALDOSTA -- The former Lowndes County employee who was involved in Friday accident that left one man dead was allowed to resign after officials determined alcohol played a role in the crash, County Manager Joe Pritchard said Wednesday.

George A. Robinson, 56, a former utility worker for Lowndes County, was given the option to resign or be fired after county officials determined he had been drinking at the time of the accident.

Robinson's personnel file shows this was not the first alcohol-related incident during his time with Lowndes County. Human Resources Director Mickey Tillman said Robinson was previously cited for alcohol use on the job in 1991 and was required to attend alcohol counseling sessions.

Robinson was driving a county-owned Ford F-150 when slammed into the passenger's side of a 1995 Ford Ranger driven by John W. Nasworthy, 34, of Valdosta just after 9 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Inner Perimeter and North Valdosta roads.

The accident claimed the life of Valdosta resident Jerry Courson, 47.

Pritchard said Robinson was returning from a call to flush a water line at the time of the accident. He had been a county employee since 1978 and was eligible for retirement. The decision to allow him to resign enabled him to keep his accrued benefits.

Pritchard said the county's action was not related to an ongoing investigation by Georgia State Patrol.

"Our policy prohibits (drinking while driving a county vehicle)," he said. "It is clearly cut. There are no ifs ands or buts about it. This action had nothing to do with any pending investigation."

Both Nasworthy and Robinson were tested at South Georgia Medical Center for drug and alcohol use, but results will not be available for four to six weeks, according to officials with Georgia State Patrol. Patrol officials said any charges stemming from the fatal crash are pending the results of those tests.

To contact reporter Bill Roberts, please call 244-3400, ext. 245.

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