Sheriff’s Office issues urgent reminder on distracted driving after 2 officers fall victim in Putnam County

Photo shows Putnam County Sheriff's Office vehicle after it was hit while parked at an unrelated crash. (Copyright 2021 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

PUTNUM COUNTY, Fla. – The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office is urging drivers to remain focused while driving after two of their deputies were involved in crashes with a distracted driver.

Both officers are okay, but one spent the weekend in the hospital due to their injuries.

The first crash occurred less than three weeks ago when a vehicle rear-ended a deputy’s patrol car as he slowed for a turn, sliding the police Explorer into a ditch and overturned. The deputy walked away from the crash with minor injuries. The Sheriff’s Office did not give an exact date or say where the crash happened.

The latest crash occurred on Friday. In that instance, the deputy was assisting in an unrelated vehicle crash involving a disabled vehicle. An oncoming vehicle hit his or her parked patrol car, which had blue lights activated when it was struck.

It’s not clear if the deputy was inside or outside of the vehicle when the crash happened.

“We were lucky. While the loss of the vehicles is never welcomed, we are extremely thankful we did not lose lives. That’s why we’re urging drivers to please be aware of your surroundings when driving and remain focused on the road when operating a vehicle,” a Sheriff’s Office Facebook post reads

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on the phone, eating, drinking, talking to people in the vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system, smoking, daydreaming, applying make-up, and/or driving while emotional.

Texting is the most alarming distraction, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for on average five seconds. At 55 miles per hour, that’s the length of a football field.

News4Jax reached out to the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office for more details on the crashes involving deputies.

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