Updated: 3 p.m. Feb. 13
A Gwinnett County Schools police resource officer was seriously injured in an accident involving two passenger cars about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday (Feb. 13) near Lanier High School in Buford, Gwinnett Police said. The officer was later identified as Rolando Jiminez.
The accident happened while he was directing traffic at the north entrance of the school, which is located on Buford Highway, police said.
The GCPS officer was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
The preliminary investigation indicated that Sydney Smigiel, 22, of Buford was traveling southbound in a white 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee on Buford Highway and intended to continue southbound, according to an update issued by Cpl. Edwin Ritter. Officer Jimenez was directing traffic at Lanier High School and signaled for the southbound traffic to stop. He directed northbound vehicles in the left turn lane to turn left into the school property.
Ms. Smigiel failed to obey Officer Jimenez’s direction to stop and struck Officer Jimenez as the other vehicles were turning left, Ritter reported. Officer Jimenez went airborn 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, according to Ritter.
The second vehicle, a red 2012 Ford Focus, was driven by a 17-year-old Lanier High School student.
Officer Jimenez remains in the hospital in serious condition. There were no other complaints of injuries on scene. Ms. Smigiel, at minimum, is facing charges for failing to obey the Officer Jimenez' traffic directions, Ritter said. At the time of the accident, Officer Jimenez was wearing a reflective traffic vest and was using a flashlight with a bright orange traffic wand. His patrol car was also on the side of the road with the emergency lights flashing.