Officer recounts loss of leg on 49th anniversary of incident

Published 10:52 am Wednesday, July 14, 2021

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On July 14, 1972, a four-car collision on US Highway 84 claimed the life of Mrs. Linda Snodgrass, and cost Bainbridge police officer John Thomas his right leg. Snodgrass, a nurse at Memorial Hospital at the time, and Thomas had both stopped to help Mrs. Martha Jones, whose car had stalled, before another car crashed into the others, crushing the two between Thomas’ cruiser and one of the civilian vehicles. Bainbridge resident Oliver Parrish was arrested for causing the crash, charged with murder with an automobile, reckless driving, driving under the influence, and several other offenses. Mrs. Snodgrass was survived by her husband and two children that day.

Officer Thomas, who was 30 at the time of the accident, spoke to the Post-Searchlight as the 49-year anniversary of the tragic day approached.

“I just want to give thanks to Almighty God for everything that He has done. I’m more than grateful to be spared, for my life from July 14, 1972, up until this present time, July 14, 2021.” Thomas is now a retired pastor of 33 years, and was brought back into service by Sheriff Griffin years later.

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“I’m forever grateful to Decatur County Sheriff Wiley Griffin for deputizing me 11 years ago, and presently he has appointed me as Chaplain/Captain John Thomas with the Decatur County Sherriff’s Department.”

The last thing Mr. Thomas said on the event was,“To God be the glory.”