Lugoff, SC – A distracted driver slammed into a Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) deputy as she was directing traffic outside an elementary school on Thursday morning (video below).
The incident occurred in the school zone outside Lugoff Elementary School just after 7 a.m., WCIV reported.
KCSO Deputy Chelsea Cockrell activated the blue lights on her patrol vehicle, then put on her yellow reflective jacket before she walked out into the intersection to direct traffic.
Dashcam footage showed an SUV as it blew through the school zone at speeds of approximately 40 miles per hour, WCIV reported.
The driver slammed into Deputy Cockrell, throwing her into the air, before the SUV screeched to a stop.
The injured deputy tumbled across the pavement, and was soon rushed by ambulance to the hospital, WCIV reported.
The driver of the SUV, later identified as John Michael Carns, told police that he was looking at his cell phone when he mowed down the deputy, WIS reported.
Carns was ultimately cited for texting and driving and driving too fast for conditions, but was not arrested.
According to Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan, Carns knows Deputy Cockrell and apologized to her at the scene.
In an update late Thursday morning, the KCSO reported that Deputy Cockrell was “doing well” and that she has been released from the hospital to recover at home.
“This was an eye opening incident that could have ended a lot worse,” Sheriff Boan said in the Facebook post. “This needs to be a wake up call to everyone out there who is willing to put their conveniency over safety.”
Sheriff Boan said that the collision was “senseless,” WIS reported.
“It never should have happened…Someone should have been paying attention,” he said. “We could have had a deputy die. If it had been a child who had been lower to the ground, we could have lost a child this morning because someone wasn’t paying attention.”
The sheriff’s department released dashcam footage of the crash shortly after it occurred.
“This is why you must pay attention while driving…especially in a school zone!” the KCSO said in the video post.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident, WCIV reported.
You can watch dashcam footage of the collision in the video below: