A Gwinnett County School Police resource officer was critically injured after being struck by two cars while directing traffic for a Buford high school early Wednesday morning.
The incident happened about 6:45 a.m. while the officer was directing traffic at the entrance of Lanier High School in the 900 block of Buford Highway, according to Gwinnett County police.
Investigators said Ms. Sydney Smigiel, 22, of Buford, was traveling southbound in a white 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee on Buford Highway and intended to continue southbound when the wreck happened.
At that time Officer Ronaldo Jimenez had signaled for the southbound traffic to stop and directed northbound vehicles in the left turn lane to make their turn into the school, police spokesman Cpl. Edwin Ritter said.
“Ms. Smigiel failed to obey Officer Jimenez’s direction to stop and struck Officer Jimenez as the other vehicles were turning left,” Cpl. Ritter said. “Officer Jimenez went airborne and landed in the left turn lane for the high school.
“Ms. Smigiel then struck a vehicle turning left head-on and pushed that vehicle onto Officer Jimenez.”
The second vehicle, a red 2012 Ford Focus, was driven by a 17-year-old student, he said.
Officer Jimenez was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center in critical condition. There were no other complaints of injuries on scene.
Ms. Smigiel, at minimum, is facing charges for failing to obey the officer’s traffic directions, Cpl. Ritter said.
At the time of the wreck, Officer Jimenez was wearing a reflective traffic vest and was using a flashlight with a bright orange traffic wand, Cpl. Ritter said. His patrol car was also on the side of the road with the emergency lights flashing.
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