Former state senator Joey Brush of Appling was killed in motorcycle crash this morning. From the Augusta Chronicle:
Brush, 59, was pronounced dead at Doctors Hospital by Columbia County Deputy Coroner Bonnie King.
Brush was driving his Harley-Davidson motorcycle east on Columbia Road near Louisville Road just after 8:30 a.m. when a Dodge Caliber pulled out from Louisville Road in front of Brush’s motorcycle, according to Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.
Charges are expected in the accident.
Brush lost his Senate seat in 2004 in a Republican primary battle with Jim Whitehead of Evans. One criticism cited by Brush opponents in that race was that his efforts at the state Capitol were too heavily focused on repealing the Georgia law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets.
Brush was a builder and developer who spent four years in the Georgia House, then eight years in the Senate. For 10 years, he was a member of the energy committee at the American Legislative Exchange Council.
His last foray into state office was a 2010 bid for a seat on the Public Service Commission.
Brush is most remembered for sponsoring two groups of bills. One dealt with motorcycles and the other with education.
The motorcycle bills included one to repeal the state’s requirement to wear a helmet and one to allow bikers to treat red lights as a stop sign if the bike wasn’t big enough to trigger sensors embedded in pavement. He never succeeded with the helmet bill, but during this year’s session, his lobbying led to passage of the red-light bill, sponsored by (state Sen. Bill) Jackson.
Gov. Nathan Deal hasn’t signed the bill into law yet, and there’s no indication if Brush’s death will have any impact on his decision.
Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle said he was at a loss for words Thursday after the death of an ally and advocate for public safety. He and Brush worked together on legislation during his Senate tenure many times, including the bill that allowed reserve officers and doctors assigned to SWAT teams be covered under worker compensation insurance.
“Joey helped introduce legislation so they could be covered,” Whittle said. “He was always supportive of law enforcement.”