• Officer accused of hitting, killing beloved Paulding teacher, worked overnight, county says

    By: Sophia Choi

    Updated:

    CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. - An officer accused of crashing into a Paulding County teacher was newly hired and had just left work, Channel 2 Action News has learned.

    A small memorial continues to grow outside Russom Elementary School in Dallas to honor Emily Howell.

    Howell was hit and killed as she headed to work on Tuesday morning.

    Student Emma Lovinggood told Channel 2’s Sophia Choi that Howell was one of her favorite teachers.

    “Heartbreaking, just heartbreaking,” Lovinggood said about her teacher’s death. “My friends and I got pulled out early, and we just started bawling when everyone told us.”

    The Georgia State Patrol said Cherokee County Detention Officer Joshua Powell crossed the yellow lines and hit the teacher head-on along Dallas Acworth Highway on Tuesday morning.


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    Howell died at the scene. Paramedics took the 31-year-old officer to WellStar Kennestone Hospital. 

    Cherokee County said Powell was a new hire and had only been on the job for about two weeks.

    Authorities said he worked a 12-hour shift overnight and left work at 6 a.m. Tuesday. The wreck happened just one hour later.

    “She has left such a positive impact, not only on my daughter but many other students as well,” Emma’s mother, Jessica Lovinggood, said. “She always had a big smile on her face and she always made sure that her students came first.”

    On Wednesday, Choi visited the scene of the wreck and found pieces of the cars still on the road where the wreck happened as well as orange markings made by investigators.

    It is still unclear what caused Powell to cross the yellow lines. GSP said charges are still pending in this wreck.

    Cherokee County told Choi there will be no internal investigation into the wreck unless Powell is charged in the case.

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