Late deputy receives state recognition

Published 4:28 pm Friday, May 8, 2009

The late Decatur County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Griffin, who lost his life in the line of duty, was recently recognized at the 2009 Peace Officer Memorial Day Ceremony.

Griffin was killed in an automobile accident while responding to a call on May 1, 2008.

On Thursday, Griffin’s family members—accompanied by a number of officers from the Sheriff’s Office, including many who served with him on his shift—traveled to the Public Safety Training Center in Forsyth, Ga., where they attended the ceremony.

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Five officers, including Griffin, received recognition at the ceremony with their names being placed on the Public Safety Memorial Wall, located at the training center, which honors the state’s fallen officers.

“As protectors and guardians, peace officers have a high and special calling,” said Gov. Sonny Perdue at the ceremony. “While we appreciate their service every day, it is important to stop and reflect on those who have died while serving their fellow Georgians.”

“It was an honor to go to Forsyth with Roberts’ family to see his sacrifice honored,” said Sheriff Wiley Griffin.

Griffin is the second Decatur County Sheriff’s deputy whose name has been placed on the memorial.

Lt. James West was the first, who lost his life in the line of duty on Oct. 28, 1980.

Mineral mine worker’s death still under investigation

The Decatur County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the death of a worker at the mineral mine on Antioch Church Road in Attapulgus.

According to Decatur County Sheriff’s Investigator Julian Crowder, Carroll Collins, 51, was killed in work-related accident on Saturday, May 2.

Decatur County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene at around 10 p.m.

Crowder said Collins was operating a front-end loader, which rolled on top of him. Collins was a contracted employee working at the mine and was living in Climax with family members, according to Crowder.

“The incident is still under investigation,” said Crowder.

The death is also being investigated by the Mine Safety Health Administration, which is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health.

Crackdown on country roads with Click It or Ticket

It may sound strange until you’ve seen the studies: Georgia’s rural roads are statistically shown to be more dangerous than our busy interstates.

Although only a quarter of the nation’s population lives in rural areas, the number of deadly crashes out on country roads actually accounts for more than half of all traffic fatalities.

In 2007, 342 people died in crashes in the five metropolitan Atlanta counties. Compare that with 527 fatal crashes in Georgia’s most rural counties. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Americans driving or riding on rural roadways face a much greater risk of being injured or killed in traffic crashes than those in urban or suburban areas.

That’s why Georgia’s traffic enforcement officers will be on the lookout for safety belt violators in Georgia’s rural areas over the Memorial Day holiday.

“We want to put the brakes on Georgia’s rural road fatalities,” said Director Bob Dallas of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS).

“We can do it now, and we can do it without reinventing the wheel,” said Dallas. “But to make our rural roads safer, we must help all drivers understand there are two major factors behind this disparity in Georgia’s urban and rural highway fatality rates.”

Dallas said one factor is the way many rural roads are constructed: Compared to the safety of limited access highways, rural roads can greatly increase the risks of a fatal crash.

“Rural roads frequently become fatality crash sites because they’re often narrow, two-lane roads with no physical barrier or division separating oncoming traffic,” said Dallas. “Add the element of frequent entering and exiting traffic and it creates a formula for fatalities. That’s why we always need to buckle-up!”

“Undeniably, the other major factor is safety belts,“ said Dallas. “Safety belt use in rural areas consistently trails the national average on urban highways.”

In 2008, only 79 percent of rural drivers and their passengers were nationally observed wearing their seat belts compared to 84 percent of urban motorists.

“And that’s why we’re sending out this statewide Click It or Ticket message loud and clear to all drivers and passengers, with a special enforcement emphasis on unbuckled drivers in rural areas,” says Dallas.

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety launched this special high-visibility Click It or Ticket rural roadway enforcement emphasis in conjunction with the State of Georgia’s annual May 2009 Click It or Ticket campaign during the Memorial Day Holiday. The focus is to buckle down on all motorists not buckling up—especially those in rural areas.

GSP update

State troopers from the Colquitt post of the Georgia State Patrol investigated 11 traffic crashes during the month of April in Decatur County.

Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Strickland said the traffic crashes resulted in nine injuries and zero traffic deaths.

Strickland said troopers from the post also issued 223 traffic citations in county that included 15 arrests for DUI, 40 citations for speeding, 60 seat belt violations and 29 child restraint violations. Troopers also issued 239 warnings.