Deputy struck by vehicle chases, apprehends suspect

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A Fayette County sheriff’s deputy was transported to Atlanta Medical Center on Jan. 14 after being struck by a vehicle on Ga. Highway 138 while chasing a man who fled from a traffic stop.

Deputy Robert Kersey was alert and responsive and was transported after he and another deputy successfully chased and apprehended the runner.

Sheriff Barry Babb on Jan. 15 said Kersey was treated and released after sustaining bruises and scratches.

Babb said the Kersey initiated a traffic stop on Hwy. 138 in north Fayette County at approximately 2 p.m. The vehicle pulled over just inside Clayton County, Babb said.

Kersey on approaching the vehicle smelled a strong odor of marijuana and called for a second deputy. Babb said the Kersey had the female driver and male passenger exit the vehicle once the second unit arrived.

While standing at the rear of the vehicle the male passenger began running across Hwy. 138. Both deputies pursued, said Babb, and Kersey was struck by an oncoming vehicle traveling approximately 40-45 miles per hour.

Babb said the Kersey saw the car coming and tried to jump over it. He slid across the hood and got caught on the passenger’s side of the windshield and rear view mirror. The second deputy said Kersey somersaulted over the car and landed on the shoulder of Hwy. 138.

Though the extent of his injuries was not clear, Kersey got up and joined his colleague, with both of them chasing the man down and taking him into custody after he fought them, Babb said, noting that the runner was tased prior to the apprehension.

“He got back up and re-engaged with the second officer, tased the runner and subdued him,” Babb said of Kersey. “He showed his fortitude to keep going.”

The two deputies returned with the runner and Kersey was transported to Atlanta Medical Center for treatment and evaluation. Babb said he was conscious and alert after the incident.

The male who ran from the deputies was treated at the scene for minor cuts, Babb said.

Babb said the driver of the vehicle that struck Kersey did not see the deputy as he began to chase the runner and is not being charged.

Babb also noted that Kersey was wearing a body camera that investigators will be viewing to retrieve any available data.

Kersey began his work with the sheriff’s office in 2012 and began working with the SWAT team in 2013. He began working in the traffic division in September 20014.

Kersey in 2013 received an academic award from the first phase of the academy’s Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) course. Kersey had the highest academic average of those participating in the course, Babb said.

A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) is an officer trained as an internationally recognized expert in the identification of impaired drivers, in particular those drivers impaired by drugs. DREs use a 12-step evaluation process to determine three things: if the person is impaired, if the impairment is due to a medical emergency or drugs and, if impaired by drugs, which drug category or categories are causing the impairment.