A Forsyth County sheriff's deputy managed to crawl out of his burning patrol car Tuesday after it crashed in Tanglewood Park in Clemmons, Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough Jr. said Friday.
Deputy Wesley Summers, 31, sustained serious injuries, including to his wrists and ribs.
Kimbrough said he visited Summers and his family members Friday at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where Summers is recovering.
At the hospital, Summers underwent surgery on his wrists and is being treated for his broken ribs.
Summers, who is in stable condition, remains employed as a deputy, the sheriff said.
Summers has worked for the sheriff's office since 2015. He began his work as a deputy in 2019.
"I think his spirits are good," Kimbrough said. "He will never be the same again, but we are hoping that he will have a very comfortable and enjoyable life."
The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office didn't distribute a news release about Summers' crash at Tanglewood Park. The Winston-Salem Journal obtained a report about the incident from the N.C. Highway Patrol's website.
Summers was driving his patrol car around 6 a.m. as he was responding to a panic-alarm emergency at the maintenance department in Tanglewood Park, Kimbrough said.
According to the Highway Patrol report, Summers was driving 60 mph on Tanglewood Park Road when he ran off the road, struck a post and then a tree. The speed limit for non-emergency vehicles on the road is 25 mph.
The car then caught fire, but an injured Summers was able to get out the vehicle, Kimbrough said. No charges were filed, according to the report.
"I am amazed that he was able to do that under the injuries that he sustained," Kimbrough said of Summers. "He's a young, healthy kid."
Kimbrough said he doesn't believe that Summers was driving 60 mph when the crash happened.
"It's not accurate," Kimbrough said. "That's an approximation. It could have been 55 mph.
"I have no issue with how fast he was traveling," Kimbrough said.
The sheriff also provided details about the emergency call that Summers responded to at the park.
The sheriff's office initially received a fire alarm, and it then became a panic alarm from the park's maintenance department, Kimbrough said.
That meant that someone needed help, and it was a priority one call, he said. An alarm-monitoring company then notified the sheriff's office, and Summers was dispatched to the call.
The sheriff's office has since determined that the alarm system might have malfunctioned, and someone may have forgotten the correct code for the maintenance building's alarm system and pushed the button for the panic alarm, Kimbrough said.
"We are looking into that," he said.
Summers' patrol vehicle, a 2016 Dodge, sustained about $10,000 in damage to its front end, according to the highway patrol's report.
Kimbrough said he needed to speak to the county's risk-management office about whether Summers' patrol car would be a declared a total loss.
"I don't care about the dollar amount of the car," Kimbrough said. "I don't care about the property damage. I am just grateful that he (Summers) is still breathing, and no one else was injured. That could have been a very tragic injury."
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