The 61-year-old driver of a silver C2 Corvette convertible suffered serious injuries after being involved in two crashes in Chattanooga, Tenn., early Sunday morning.
James Upton lost control of his 1965 or 1966 Sting Ray at 2:14 a.m. in light rain and slid sideways, crashing head-on into a white Lexus SUV driven by Sherry West, 50, along Highway 153 at the intersection of U.S. 27.
While officers were diverting traffic from that wreck, which shut down traffic in both directions, a white pickup driven by Billy Burroughs, 60, drove through the scene and struck Chattanooga Police Department investigator Jeffrey Buckner, who was not wearing a reflective vest, according to witnesses.
Buckner had to be taken to the hospital but fortunately was able to be released later in the day, going home to rest with his family, according to Chattanooga Police Department spokesman Trevor Tomas, who added that West and her three passengers did not suffer injuries requiring a trip to the hospital. Likewise, Burroughs was not hospitalized, remaining on the scene and cooperating fully with traffic investigators, according to police reports.
The classic Corvette, on the other hand, suffered major damage, particularly to the passenger side, based on a photo from the scene.
Buckner’s fate proved to be much better than that of another Chattanooga police officer who was struck by a vehicle earlier this year. In February, officer Nicholas Galinger died after being hit while inspecting an overflowing manhole cover in the rain.
Ironically, Buckner had testified in a bond hearing for the driver in that incident, Janet Hinds, 55, who is facing 10 charges, including DUI and vehicular homicide by way of intoxication.
After Sunday’s incident, Lt. Daniel Jones reminds motorists to be cautious as they negotiate roads in the rain, especially around crash sites.
“I understand,” Jones told the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. “Everybody sees a traffic crash, and whenever you see the traffic crash, one thing you wanna do is see what’s going on. But unfortunately, whenever you’re looking at another crash, there may be folks in the road or there may be things that are going on investigation-wise, and you just miss it. And whenever you miss something, then unfortunately, that something may be a police officer.”
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