Chattanooga police officer home, resting with family after being struck by truck while investigating crash

Chattanooga police officer home, resting with family after being struck by truck while investigating crash

August 25th, 2019 by Mark Pace and Rosana Hughes in Breaking News

Staff photo by Doug Strickland / Officer Jeffrey Buckner testifies during a preliminary hearing for Janet Hinds before Judge Alex McVeagh at the Hamilton County-Chattanooga Courts Building on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

A Chattanooga police officer was struck by a pickup truck while investigating a serious crash early Sunday morning along state Highway 153 at the intersection of U.S. Highway 27.

The officer, 33-year-old investigator Jeffrey Buckner, was taken to a local hospital. He was released later in the day and went home to rest with his family, according to Chattanooga Police Department spokesman Trevor Tomas.

The crash was reported at 2:14 a.m. after a silver Chevrolet Corvette driven by 61-year-old James Upton was traveling northbound in light rain and lost control. Upton crossed over into the opposite lane of traffic and collided head-on with a white Lexus SUV driven by Sherry West, 50, according to Tomas.

Both southbound and northbound lanes of traffic were closed.

Police arrived on scene and began securing the crash site. Officers were positioning vehicles to divert traffic when a white pickup truck driven by Billy Burroughs, 60, approached the crash. Burroughs drove through the scene and struck Buckner, according to the release.

Both the officer and Upton, who was the driver of the Corvette involved in the initial crash, were taken to the hospital. Upton had serious injuries, according to the release.

At least three other people were reportedly in the SUV with West, though police said they were not taken to the hospital.

Burroughs, the driver of the pickup truck, was not hospitalized. He remained on scene and fully cooperated with traffic investigators, according to the release.

This marks the second Chattanooga police officer to have been struck by a vehicle this year. In February, officer Nicholas Galinger was struck and killed while inspecting an overflowing manhole cover in the 2900 block of Hamill Road.

The driver in that incident, 55-year-old Janet Hinds, is facing 10 charges in connection to the crash, including DUI and vehicular homicide by way of intoxication.

Buckner testified in Hinds' bond hearing about her alleged impairment.

"Any time you have an officer hurt in anything, it's not gonna matter whether it was something that happened seven months ago, eight months ago or something that happened today, we're all concerned for each and every one of us that come out here and put on a badge and work what we do," Lt. Daniel Jones said.

He said Sunday's incident is another example of why drivers should pay close attention to the road, especially while driving by a crash scene.

"I understand," Jones said. "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."

Contact Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.

Contact Mark Pace with questions, comments, concerns or story tips at mpace@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659. Follow him on Twitter @themarkpace and on Facebook at ChattanoogaOutdoorsTFP.


Updated Aug. 25, 2019 at 2:30 p.m. with more information


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