Deputy hospitalized after Thursday wreck

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 21, 2001

A Butler County deputy was knocked unconscious following the collision of his patrol car by a utility truck on East Commerce Street.

According to Sheriff Diane Harris, Deputy Albert Dyess was responding to an emergency call, 'backing up" a fellow deputy already enroute to a fight call on Montgomery Hwy., Thursday when his vehicle was struck by a utility truck.

"Deputy Dyess was traveling east on East Commerce Street, and as he approached the location of an old car wash near Grayson Street, a Norris Plumbing Company-owned truck, traveling west on Commerce Street attempted to turn left (south) into the driveway of the plumbing office," Harris said. "The truck struck Al's driver's side door, knocking him unconscious, and sending his vehicle careening toward the curbing and an embankment."

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Harris said an eyewitness was parked nearby, and from his position, was able to see both the deputy's vehicle and the truck.

"The witness, Steiner Hill, a six-year member of the U.S. Marine Corps., ran over to Al, cut his seatbelt off him, and held his head and neck from moving, until rescue units arrived," Harris said. "When the Greenville Fire Department paramedics arrived, they had to use the 'Jaws-of-Life' to gain access to Al - his door was pinned in, and the windshield and dashboard were caved in."

Harris said reports indicated Dyess was unconscious for "about three minutes."

His car was totaled, but I told him the same thing I have told other officers that have been involved in accidents: vehicles can be replaced, people cannot," she said. "Mr. Hill told Greenville Police officers investigating the accident that he had seen the truck use its turn signal, but he (the witness) knew the truck had no time to clear the maneuver without striking the deputy's vehicle."

Dyess was taken by ambulance to L.V. Stabler Memorial Hospital, where he was evaluated and treated in the emergency room, then later admitted in the critical care unit (CCU) for further observation.

"Al suffered from a concussion and several lacerations that required stitches, and also had pain in his chest," Harris said. "But it could have been a lot worse - he is lucky to be alive."

When reporters spoke to Dyess at the hospital on Friday, he said he was still in pain, but was happy just to be alive.

"I don't remember the accident," Dyess said. "I can't remember different parts - but I remember the guy who saved me, his name is Steiner Hill."

Dyess said that in addition to the concussion and lacerations, doctors determined that he had some broken ribs.

"They are still running some tests, but I feel like I could recover just fine at home - I don't want to be here in the hospital," Dyess said.