On Friday April 3, 2020, at approximately 5:30 a.m., while assisting the Tennessee Highway Patrol with a vehicle accident scene, Wayne County Sheriff’s Deputy Brent Butler was struck by a vehicle and injured. The deputy was taken by air ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital for treatment of his injuries.
The initial accident being investigated by THP and WCSO occurred on Friday at approximately 4:00 a.m. on Collinwood Highway near Bryant’s Auto Repair. The report states that Jimmie P. Rich, age 60, of Collinwood, apparently fell asleep while driving. Rich struck a ditch, then a culvert and a mailbox. He was not injured in the accident.
While investigating the accident, Deputy Butler was standing in the roadway with all emergency vehicles present operating their blue lights so as to be visible to anyone approaching the scene. An approaching vehicle came to a sudden stop when they came upon the scene, causing the vehicle behind them to swerve and strike Deputy Butler. The deputy was thrown into the air and landed facedown on the pavement several feet away.
After being transported to Vanderbilt, Deputy Butler was treated for several lacerations and severe road rash, but he suffered no broken bones or other serious injuries. He was released from the hospital later that day. After Deputy Butler was released from the hospital, Sheriff Shane Fisher stated, “Our Wayne County Sheriff’s Office deputy sheriff who was involved in an accident this morning has been released from the hospital and is now resting at home. We thank everyone for their prayers and they definitely paid off. A full recovery is expected and we anticipate a rapid return to duty.”
The driver of the vehicle that struck Deputy Butler was Joe Melson of Collinwood. The Tennessee Highway Patrol states that no charges are expected to be filed against Melson.