UPDATE: Two Grundy Co. corrections officers suspended without pay after patrol vehicle crash
UPDATE: Two corrections officers in Grundy County have been suspended without pay after crashing a patrol cruiser into a woman's car on Thursday.
The Grundy County Sheriff's Office has announced it is now launching an internal investigation along with the Tennessee Highway Patrol's investigation.
The woman involved in that crash has minor injuries as a result of the patrol cruiser rear-ending her white Nissan Altima.
Sgt. Alan Bailey with the Tennessee Highway Patrol told Channel 3 Friday morning that there was an inmate in the back seat of the cruiser at the time of the accident.
He also said the trooper who responded was told that the driver was a deputy responding to a call.
Sheriff Clint Shrum wrote in a statement, which Channel 3 received late Friday afternoon, that the driver, Tyler Hargis, and the passenger, Cody Nunley, were actually taking the vehicle in for maintenance in Tracy City and were returning to the office when the crash happened.
Hope Cox says the crash happened in her sister's front yard.
"She said that she just glanced up and saw blue lights and then it was 'wham' he hit her," Cox said.
She went off the road and hit the tree but you could tell that it was a really hard hit," she explained.
She says she's just happy the young woman involved, 18-year-old Shalyn Pickett is alive.
"I just thank God that she was alright because if she had hit that tree head-on instead of going to the side, we might not have Shalyn. (It was) really sad and (there was) no reason for it," Cox continued.
Others like Bridget Jones, who works along Main Street, have questions about how the crash happened.
"He was doing every bit of 90. She's lucky to be alive," Jones told Channel 3.
The two officers' unpaid leave status is pending the results of the investigation.
A full crash report will not be available for a few days. THP has up to 7 days to complete their report.
PREVIOUS STORY: The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating after a Grundy County corrections officer crashed a patrol vehicle with an inmate trustee inside.
The THP said Officer Jonathan Hargis was driving the patrol car when it rear-ended another vehicle in Altamont in the 800 block of Main Street around noon Thursday.
A THP spokesperson said, "[the officer] was responding to a call and had his emergency equipment activated," when he rear-ended a Nissan Altima.
Photos sent to Channel 3 show the Nissan Altma with major rear-end damage sitting in the front yard of a home.
A release from Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum says Hargis and a second corrections officer, Cody Nunley, were bringing the patrol vehicle back from Tracy City where it had received maintenance.
Sheriff Shrum says both officers have been placed on unpaid leave pending the results of the investigation.
The Sheriff also says an internal investigation has been opened to determine why the officers were using the emergency equipment and the reason behind the inmate being in the patrol SUV.
Here is Sheriff Shrum's entire statement to Channel 3:
"The Grundy County Sheriff’s Office has asked the Tennessee Highway Patrol to investigate a crash that occurred Thursday, March 7, 2019 in Altamont between a sheriff’s office vehicle and a teen driver. Witnesses stated the vehicle was operating with emergency equipment activated when the crash occurred. The sheriff’s vehicle was occupied by two correctional officers, Tyler Hargis (driver) and Cody Nunley. An inmate trustee was a rear seat passenger. The driver of the other vehicle was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a local hospital. Sheriff Clint Shrum explained the vehicle had been taken for maintenance in Tracy City and was returning to the office. Both Hargis and Nunley have been placed on unpaid leave pending the results of the investigation. An internal investigation has been opened to determine why the emergency equipment had been activated as well as why a trustee was in the vehicle."
The driver of the Altima, whose name has not been released, had minor injuries and was taken to an area hospital.
Sheriff Shrum says the deputy involved is okay.
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