A Muscogee school district worker in a district pickup truck traveled onto the sidewalk to fatally strike Loretta Williams and injure a second woman as they walked Saturday morning along Steam Mill Road, Columbus police reported today.
The accident happened about 6:30 a.m. as the driver police identified as 45-year-old Alfie Johnson drove west in a white Ford F-150 pickup that ran up onto the sidewalk where Williams was walking with Linda Estell, 63, of Kennedy Street.
A mutual friend, Geneva Turner, said the women were among a group of people who regularly meet at Columbus' Shirley Winston Park and walk for exercise. Turner said Estell remains hospitalized from her injuries.
Williams, who lived on Coronet Drive in Columbus, was 50 years old, according to investigators.
The accident happened 400 feet east of Georgia Drive, not far from the entrance to Shirley Winston Park.
Turner said the walking group of 10 to 12 people meets regularly at the park gym at 5:30 a.m. on weekdays, but does not adhere to that strict a schedule on weekends. She said she did not witness the accident herself because she missed Saturday's walk.
"Loretta was such a great person," Turner said. "She was a minister, had just preached a sermon on that Friday night. She tried to encourage people." Williams was faithful about keeping her exercise schedule, Turner said: "She was doing that because she was proud of the fact that she had lost so much weight; she had got off diabetic medicine; she was no longer a diabetic. She was a bus driver for the school system at Fort Benning."
Estell is a retired postal worker, Turner said.