Georgia State Troopers put out a reminder about drowsy driving after a Lowndes County deputy was injured in a crash on Interstate 75 this morning.
Deputy Catherine Jeffery was on her way back to Valdosta from Macon in her patrol car when she dozed off behind the wheel and slammed into a concrete median and a guard rail. Jeffrey was transported to Tift Regional but her injuries are not life threatening.
After the accident, she told troopers she was about to get off at the Ashburn exit and walk around, but she nodded off before she made it.
There's not much left of Jeffery's cruiser. "Her shift started at midnight, and as on her way back to Lowndes County. She says she just through she fell asleep and traveled over into the emergency lane before she hit the wall," Said GSP SGT. John Posey.
Witnesses traveling behind her told troopers she never hit the brakes before she crashed into the rail. "She even admitted she was about to get off at Ashburn and get out and walk around.and that's what you need to do. She felt herself getting tired. She was doing the right thing. Just prior to getting to Ashburn, that's when the accident happened," said Posey.
Parts of the southbound lane of Interstate 75 were blocked off near mile marker 87 in Turner County, as crews worked to clear the accident scene. Employees at Bud's Wrecker Service have seen it all.but this is the second officer's vehicle they towed in over the past few months.
"This right here is a tribute to get plenty of rest at night before you go out in the mornings," said Scott Cameron of Bud's Tire and Wrecker.
If it hadn't been for the concrete wall and guard rail, the accident could've been a lot worse. "Before that we worked numerous fatalities, especially where you had a tractor trailer and hit the oncoming traffic."
The patrol car was the only vehicle involved and Jeffrey was able to talk to first responders at the scene. "Yeah she is very lucky. She could of had a family involved a car beside her, so yeah, she was very lucky. "
Troopers advise drivers to get off at the nearest exit if you feel drowsy. Troopers say speed was not a factor and they don't plan to file any charges. They also say she was wearing her seat belt.