Traffic investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office are piecing together events that led up to a three-vehicle accident last week — an incident that involved a Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services engine.
At about 12:15 p.m., Jan. 24, Cherokee County deputies were dispatched to the three-car accident on Hickory Flat Highway at Newt Fowler Lane in Canton. A spokesperson for the agency said two people were injured as a result of the accident.
Lt. Jay Baker said 20-year-old Shayla Croft, of Canton, was traveling westbound on Hickory Flat Highway, and when she stopped to turn left on Newt Fowler Lane, she was struck by Robert Clanton, 36, of Canton.
Baker said the collision forced Croft’s Honda Accord to travel into the eastbound lane and into the path of an oncoming fire truck. The fire truck, according to officials, is stationed at the Hickory Flat Volunteer Fire Department, and no one was injured onboard.
County Fire Chief Tim Prather said he could not verify if the truck was repairable.
“The fire truck suffered extensive damage. At this point, I cannot say if the truck can be salvaged or not,” he said.
While the fate of the engine remains undetermined, Prather said the 20-year-old woman was the “true victim.”
“My personnel are OK; the 20-year-old girl is the true victim of this accident. I’m not at liberty at this time to discuss her condition, but will say it is an unfortunate, terrible situation and tragedy,” he said.
Croft was transported by air ambulance to WellStar Kennestone Hospital with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, Baker said. Clanton was transported to Northside Hospital-Cherokee with non-life-threatening injuries.
The incident is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed; however, Baker said prescription medication might have played a role in the accident on Ga. 140. Clanton’s blood was collected, Baker said, adding that toxicology could take weeks.
As far as Croft and the firemen involved, Baker said there was no indication of impairment. Per Fire-ES protocol, however, Fire-ES Spokesman Tim Cavender said the firemen would be drug tested.
“They are tested whether or not they are the cause of the accident,” he said.