BUTLER COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - It was a very close call Saturday afternoon for a Butler County Sheriff’s Deputy who was injured in a hit-and-run just north of Greenville.
Deputy Tom Birtley was working a traffic accident on Interstate 65 near mile marker 133 when it happened Saturday around 1:30 p.m. A driver passed by and clipped him, sending the veteran lawman straight to the pavement.
“I was like, ‘what in the world?’ Next thing I know I am on the ground," Birtley said.
Dazed and in pain, Birtley called for backup.
“Caught him pretty much waist high. He’s got quite a bit of bruising," said Butler County Sheriff Danny Bond.
The passing motorist apparently didn’t move over, which is required by law in Alabama. The driver slowed down but then sped away.
“They decided they needed to go somewhere else. They took off at a high rate of speed," Bond said.
The collision troubled Anna Findley who’s own brother was killed on the very same interstate several years ago in Butler County.
Findley played a key role more than a year ago in getting Alabama lawmakers to increase the fines when motorists violate the Move Over law.
“They leave the scene without checking on a human being they just hit. That doesn’t settle well with me," Findley said.
As you can imagine, deputy Birtley is quite sore after what he went through. He says it’ll be a week or so before he returns to work.
“The doctor said I have a sprained spine," Birtley said.
This is the worst thing that’s happened to Birtley in his long career in law enforcement. So close to being seriously injured or killed, Birtley is grateful to be able to talk about it and heal.
Bond says it’s unlikely they’ll catch the driver in question because Birtley was not able to get the tag number. However, Bond says the vehicle was a blue Buick Enclave SUV.