Originally created 06/30/00

Deputy in hospital after crash



A Richmond County motorcycle deputy was being treated at Medical College of Georgia Hospital's trauma unit Thursday after a driver clipped the back of his bike as he rushed to a crash scene.

Deputy Thomas Cooper, 30, a six-year veteran with the force, was riding with lights flashing and sirens wailing. He had just passed the Deans Bridge Road intersection on Gordon Highway when a Fort Gordon soldier in a 1995 Acura Integra pulled into the middle lane and struck him, according to the Georgia State Patrol.

As the motorcycle tumbled over numerous times, Deputy Cooper was thrown off and somersaulted into the concrete median. Both he and the bike might have plowed into a tow truck had the driver not accelerated when he saw the collision in his rear-view mirror, Trooper Jason Johnson said.

The deputy was unconscious when ambulances arrived and later showed signs of possible head trauma, Rural/Metro spokeswoman Valerie Spratlin said. He suffered a broken collarbone, broken ribs and road rash.

Sgt. Brian Stalcup, a member of the 201st Military Intelligence Unit, was charged with improper lane change.

Deputy Cooper was stable Thursday. Maj. Richard Weaver, his commanding officer, said he was "real lucky."

"Apparently, the guy just didn't see him," Maj. Weaver said. "Accidents involving motorcycles happen that way quite commonly. But usually they don't involve us; we're the ones investigating them."

Deputy Cooper lives in Hephzibah with his wife and children.

Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or jedwards92@hotmail.com.