A fatal accident in September, involving a Georgia State Patrol trooper is still under investigation, said GSP Capt. Kirk McGlamery.
While the GSP Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team (SCRT) has not yet released information regarding the accident that took the life of Sarah Alice Sikes, 71, Middle Road, Collins, a crash report made available by McGlamery shows there were “no contributing factors” listed indicating Sikes was at fault.
There have been no charges against GSP Trooper First-class Chris Palmer either, McGlamery said.
The crash report, written by GSP Sgt. B. J. Leopold, stated there were “other contributing factors” regarding Palmer’s involvement in the crash on U.S. 301 South at Interstate 16, but still, “the investigation is ongoing,” McGlamery said. “SCRT is making sure everything is correct and we have it right. When the report is done, it will be right and we aren’t hiding anything — it is just that the investigation is not yet complete.”
The “other contributing factors” could include the fact that Palmer had just turned around to pursue a speeding vehicle. He had not yet turned on his flashing lights or siren when he and Sikes’ truck collided. Since the SCRT investigation is incomplete, Palmer’s speed at the time of the crash has not yet been released.
As she exited an off ramp from Interstate 16, Sikes’ truck struck Palmer’s 2007 Dodge Charger patrol car in the passenger side, Leopold said.
Sikes died after being airlifted to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah. According to reports, Sikes suffered a fatal head injury. Palmer was taken by Bulloch County EMS top East Georgia Regional Medical Center in Statesboro, where he was treated and released for back injuries.
Reports stated neither driver’s vision was obscured.
The SCRT was called to investigate the accident since the accident involved a serious (and later fatal) injury, as well as a state trooper.
The SCRT is not a unit within Statesboro’s GSP Post 45 but a separate state unit that is often called to investigate accidents involving serious injury, death, or law enforcement officers.
“If we find we are at fault, we will come out and report it,” McGlamery said. Due to the ongoing SCRT investigation, “We’re prohibited from talking about (the accident in detail) but there is no cover-up. We’re above board.”
When the investigation is completed, all facts found will be public record, he said.
After taking a few days off to recover, Palmer resumed his duties, he said.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.