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Lt. governor’s SUV involved in accident

Trooper driving; no charges filed

POSTED: November 8, 2013 11:08 p.m.
/Courtesy Jason Simms

This Kia Sorrento driven by Laura Simms of Oakwood was hit Wednesday morning on Interstate 985 by a large SUV driven by Trooper First Class 2 Robert Haley. Haley was driving Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle to the Capitol when the accident happened.

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A Georgia State Patrol trooper driving Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in an SUV to the Capitol on Wednesday morning struck the rear of a car driven by an Oakwood woman on Interstate 985.

Trooper First Class 2 Robert Haley struck a Kia Sorrento driven by Laura H. Simms, 42, according to the state patrol. No one was transported from the scene of the accident, but Simms’ husband, Jason Simms, said his wife did later go to the hospital. He said she strained her shoulder and neck muscles, is bruised near her hip and missed two days of work because of the accident. 

The accident occurred about 8:14 a.m. south of Ga. 20, Exit 4, when traffic stopped abruptly in the southbound lanes. 

Laura Simms said cars were slamming on their brakes because another trooper had someone pulled over in the median.

Haley attempted to avoid a collision but struck the Kia, according to the state patrol.

Laura Simms said she never saw the car, but that it hit her hard. She said her vehicle spun out of the fast lane, hit the median of the entrance ramp and rolled over before coming to rest right-side up near the base of the ramp. The other vehicle came to a rest in the median.

No charges have been filed in the incident, but Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Franka Young said it will be reviewed by the Troop Crash Review Board, as is the case with any wreck involving a department vehicle. The board’s findings are then sent to the commanding officer for any action.

Young said the investigating trooper, “at his or her discretion, determines whether to issue a citation in a traffic crash.”

“It really infuriates me that he was not ticketed,” Laura Simms said. “... Do I think he was speeding? If I had to guess, yes. Of course I do not know that. ... But he needs to be abide by the same rules we do.”

She said she crawled out of her car, maneuvering around the air bags that had deployed, and sat in the median until the ambulance arrived. 

“I never saw him coming. I just know that I got hit; my car flipped,” she said. “It’s a miracle that I was not hurt any more than I am. But nobody even came and checked on me for a good five minutes after the accident occurred, and that bothers me.”

She noted that she was not looking at her watch.

The Georgia State Patrol reported that the call came in at 8:14 a.m., and a nearby trooper arrived immediately. Laura Simms said the trooper who had been on the side of the road approached her a few minutes after the accident. Two minutes after the call, the trooper advised there was a woman with a possible shoulder injury and requested EMS units, which were en route at about 8:19 a.m. 

Laura Simms said Haley did come check on her later, while she was being assessed by emergency responders. He asked if she was OK and if she’d like to meet the lieutenant governor. She said yes, but the ambulance driver was not finished so she never met Cagle.

Ben Fry, Cagle’s spokesman, directed all questions about the accident to the patrol, except to say Cagle did not miss any work due to the accident.



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