- Associated Press - Saturday, July 18, 2015

MCDONOUGH, Ga. (AP) - A crackdown on drunk drivers and other traffic violations in Henry County this weekend was dedicated to an artist who was supposed to sculpt a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but died in a crash with a suspected drunk driver.

Andy Davis, 53, was riding his motorcycle in Henry County when he was rear-ended by a pickup truck on the morning of July 10 and died July 12, Georgia State Patrol has said. Davis had been selected to create a statue of the slain civil rights leader at the Georgia state Capitol building in Atlanta.

The 20-year-old driver, Corey Ashton Sease, has been charged with vehicular homicide, three counts of DUI, following too closely and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, according to the Georgia Department of Public Safety. The crash is still under investigation by a Georgia State Patrol’s Collision Reconstruction Team, department of public safety officials said.

The enforcement operation was scheduled to run through Sunday and officials said it would include sobriety checks, concentrated patrols, safety belt checks and speed monitoring.

Plans for the enhanced enforcement initiative titled “Operation Thunder,” had been in the works since last year, but Davis’ death was a stark reminder of the impact drunk driving can have in Georgia, Henry County Police Chief Keith Nichols said in a statement.

“Not only has our state lost a talented artist, but his death at the hands of a careless drunk driver sets back the effort to create a permanent memorial to Dr. King,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said in a statement.

The sculptor was remembered as a passionate mentor to aspiring artists who took his work seriously, but also refused to wear shoes whenever possible.

A celebration of life was scheduled for 2 p.m. in McDonough Saturday at the Hood Street Art Center. Organizers said in a post on the artist’s website that they wanted attendees to reflect Davis’s laid-back spirit.

“We ask that in his memory, to come to the event in sandals or flip-flops, so that you may be barefoot, just as he would have it!”

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