Postal worker killed in ‘freak accident’

A Clarkesville Post Office employee delivering mail on a rural roadway was killed Monday afternoon after a large tree fell across her vehicle, smashing its front passenger compartment.
According to information released to The Northeast Georgian by the Georgia State Patrol, the victim was behind the wheel of a 2003 Honda Element, traveling north on Buckhorn Road, when it was crushed by a tree that fell from atop an embankment at approximately 12:58 p.m. Oct. 23.
“As the Honda was in motion, a tree fell from the east side of the roadway and landed on top of the Honda, causing devastating damage to the vehicle,” GSP stated. “The roof of the Honda collapsed in with the tree onto the driver, causing a fatal injury.”
Habersham County Coroner Kasey C. McEntire identified for The Northeast Georgian Tuesday morning the victim as being Zekeiah “Nikki” Veramick Cole-Hunt, 36, of Mt. Airy.
“Ms. Hunt passed away instantly from injuries sustained from a fallen tree [on her vehicle] while driving north on Buckhorn Road,” McEntire said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family at this difficult time.”
Public safety personnel worked tirelessly to free Cole-Hunt from the vehicle prior to her being transported from the scene.
“At the time of the incident, the driver was performing her duties as a rural mail carrier and deliver[ing] mail for the U.S. Postal Service,” GSP stated. “The incident occurred after a long period of heavy rain and as winds were increasing in the area.”
Habersham County was pummeled Monday by thunderstorms, which continued from the early-morning hours well into the afternoon, bringing hard rains and gusts of wind.
The stretch of Buckhorn Road where Cole-Hunt was killed remained shut down for several hours after the incident, as the Element and related debris were removed from the roadway. It has since been reopened.
When reached by The Northeast Georgian Tuesday, Rick Badie, Atlanta contact for U.S. Postal Service’s Corporate Communications division, declined comment, stating the incident was still under investigation.
“We have nothing to say at this time,” he said.

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