Imagine yourself in pain, for weeks. You don’t intend to get hooked on pills so you take one only when movement becomes unbearable.
You reflect on how you got this way, revisiting the impact you fleetingly saw coming your way. Imagine seeing a 5,000 lb. deadly weapon bearing down on you and you have no time to get out of the way.
A Gwinnett County police officer, directing traffic in front of Lanier High School in Suwanee, wearing a lime colored rain slicker, holding an orange strobe light and with his cruiser parked close by with lights flashing would naturally expect drivers to go slower. MOVE OVER! IT’S THE LAW! The law would not be needed if drivers used common sense.
School Resource Officer Rolando Jimenez directed traffic for several years each day the school was open. He did not consider it a dangerous job but, all too often, had to yell to drivers to slow down. He enjoyed protecting school children and making friends with parents.
That particular morning he did not see the oncoming vehicle until it was too late. The driver was charged with failure to obey a police officer’s directions.
The woman driving the car that hit him, according to the officer, said she did not see him.
How can a driver not see a policeman in a bright slicker with a strobe light and flashing lights on his patrol car? Schools are always designated as go-slower zones.
As I drive around I see cars exceeding the speed limit. I wonder why. I spoke with Captain Mike Johnson with the Lilburn police department about the huge problem. We talked about the various reasons people are sometimes inattentive, drowsy, intoxicated, drug impaired, applying make-up, texting, angered, a macho attitude, worried about personal problems, concentrating on something other than driving responsibilities or simply rushing to be somewhere.
The impact caused multiple broken bones, fractures, abrasions and scarring. After the impact the officer said he was stunned and could not remember anything for some time.
Officer Jimenez remained in Gwinnett Medical Center hospital for 8 weeks with time in surgery and in ICU, plus 7 weeks in the Glancy rehabilitation hospital. He required another 10 weeks of outpatient therapy. He has one more surgical procedure awaiting him.
A ramp into his house and a room outfitted with a hospital bed is the result of somebody driving without paying attention.
The family finances have taken a beating but fortunately friends have kicked in with fund-raisers and other efforts to alleviate some of that anxiety.
Because of someone failing to pay attention while driving a father was unable to attend many of his son’s school functions this year.
Rolando is determined to recover, intending to return to work this summer albeit with light duty. After some traumatic months the family is beginning to smile again.
Bill York has lived in Stone Mountain for 35 years. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org