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VSU professor hit by car

A VSU psychology professor will be unable to return to the classroom for the rest of semester after being struck by a car while on a morning bike ride Monday.

Dr. Mark Whatley, associate professor of psychology, was riding south down Inner Perimeter road near Jaycee Shack Road at 6:30 a.m. when he was hit from behind by a Ford Explorer. The driver left the scene of the accident, according to Valdosta police.

The VPD later found the car at 1810 E. Park Ave. Afton Green, the driver of the car, told Valdosta police that she thought that she had hit a dog so she kept driving. She blamed poor lighting conditions for her inability to tell that what she hit was actually a person on a bicycle.

Green was charged with improper passing, leaving the scene of an accident, license-not on person, and tag-expired.

Dr. Whatley was taken South Georgia Medical Center with injuries to his legs and back. He will undergo back surgery on Tuesday morning at Shands Medical Center at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fla.

Dr. Whatley’s classes were cancelled for the remainder of this week. Starting next week, Dr. Jackson Rainer, head of the psychology and counseling department, will take over teaching responsibilities for the remainder of this semester.

There is a get well card available for students to sign in the psychology building.

No calls to either party involved had been returned at press time.

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  1. Very good info. Lucky me I found your site by chance (stumbleupon).
    I’ve saved it for later!

  2. As you describe in your story, Afton Green is responsible for Dr. Whatley’s injuries. So why are you blaming her car in the headline? Let’s imagine that Green shot Whatley. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t write this headline: “VSU professor shot by gun. “I’d like to suggest a more appropriate headline: “VSU professor hit by driver.” If someone is hit by a car that is driving itself, then by all means, please use “hit by car” in the headline. An autonomous automobile will also be a major scoop for The Spectator! Until then, please write truthfully about what happened. To do otherwise diminishes Green’s role in this very unfortunate story.

    • Cyclist: Thank you for your input. However, to write that the professor was hit by a driver would imply that the driver stopped the car, got out, and hit him with their hand or with a weapon. The headline is not intended to diminish anything, but to be as clear as possible about the event being covered as it physically happened. The reason why or who was responsible for Prof. Whatley’s injuries is covered in the article for clarification, but the purpose of a headline is to explain briefly what happened without going into extraneous detail. A car hit him. The driver was responsible. The driver did not personally hit him.
      Thank you,
      Rebecka McAleer, Web Editor

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