Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – The Lexington County sheriff’s deputy whose patrol vehicle was hit head-on by a pickup truck early Saturday morning, was injured to a point that he could have a long recovery period, according to a friend and colleague of his who has followed his condition closely since the accident. Although his injuries have been described as serious, they are also said to be non-life-threatening.
The operator of the pickup truck that hit the deputy was apparently driving while he was intoxicated. This is according to the SC Highway Patrol that investigated the accident. The wreck, which happened at South Lake near Paps Drives in Red Bank, closed the highway for some time while the troopers investigated what occurred. The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department immediately turned the scene of the crash over to state troopers after the collision occurred. This is standard operating procedures for any accident involving a county vehicle.
Troopers say Michael Jordan Nichols, 36, will be charged with Felony DUI resulting in Great Bodily Injury. Nichols was taken to the hospital with serious injuries himself after the wreck. They believe he will survive the crash and have said his injuries are listed as non-life-threatening too. Troopers believe Nichols was swerving across the four-lane highway and crossed over the center line prior to hitting the deputy.
The source who spoke to The Ledger, an active-duty law enforcement officer himself, said that he knows that the injured deputy will receive help from his "Brothers & Sisters in Blue" with any type of assistance needed during his recovery. Although he will receive Worker's Compensation while injured, that will only be a portion of full salary. That percentage is set by a state standard. "I'd be willing to bet that deputies from the Lexington County Sheriff's Department will be joined by anyone who wears the uniform and badge to ensure he'll have emotional and financial support if needed. I'm sure of that. This community, Lexington County, has also been fast to come to the aid of any officer if they require it. For the most part, they've always cared about and supported us, and I am sure this case won't be an exception," he said.