Gwinnett school officer recovering after being hit

3:07 PM, Feb 14, 2013   |    comments
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  • Officer Rolando Jimenez (Courtesy Gwinnett County Public Schools)
  • A diagram of the accident provided by Gwinnett County Police

SUGAR HILL, Ga. -- A veteran Gwinnett County school resource officer is in serious but stable condition at Gwinnett Medical Center after he was hit by a car while directing traffic at Lanier High School Wednesday morning.

Officer Ronald Jimenez's wife Melissa released a statement Thursday about his recovery:

First, let us express our appreciation for the thoughts and prayers that have been sent our way following yesterday's accident. My husband is currently in serious but stable condition after undergoing surgery to address internal bleeding and to set his jaw, which was broken during the accident. He also suffered a broken pelvis and a knee injury. While we know that he has a long recovery ahead of him, we are thankful that he is alive and look forward to the day when he is able to return home and to the work he loves.

Gwinnett County Police spokesman Edwin Ritter said Jimenez had stopped traffic on Buford Highway at around 6:45 a.m. Wednesday when 22-year-old Sydney Smigiel kept going and hit him, knocking Jimenez back 30 feet. Ritter said Smigiel then hit another vehicle, which struck Jimenez again. He was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center in critical condition.  

Gwinnett County Schools spokesman Jorge Quintana said Jimenez has been the SRO for Lanier High School cluster since it opened in 2011. He's served the school district for 11 years.

"He's always very helpful," said Lanier Junior Meg Gregory. "He's always good at his job, always has a smile on his face and always takes every situation very positively."

At the time of the accident, Jimenez was wearing a reflective traffic vest and was using a flashlight with a bright orange traffic wand. His patrol car was on the side of the road with its emergency lights flashing.

"There were plenty of indicators for the person to slow down and use caution," said Ritter. "She didn't."

Principal Kerensa Wing said that second car was carrying two students -- a 17-year-old driver and one passenger.

"A student passenger in that vehicle was transported to a hospital to be checked out as a precaution," Wing said.

Ritter said Smigiel will likely be charged with failure to obey an officer directing traffic. He said alcohol and speeding were not factor and she was not texting nor using her phone. 

A Facebook page for the injured officer, Get Well Officer Jimenez, has received more than 1,000 likes since it was put up Wednesday.

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