Danville police chief almost struck by car

July 23, 2004|EMILY BURTON

Danville police chief Jeff Peek narrowly escaped serious injury Thursday, quickly dodging an oncoming car as he directed traffic outside the Boyle County Fairgrounds.

Dressed in plain clothes, Peek was diverting drivers from the closed entrance of the fair to a second entrance north on the bypass.

Two vehicles were stopped in the right, north-bound lane, forcing the driver of an approaching Pontiac sedan onto the shoulder to avoid hitting them. The left-hand passing lane was occupied.

"He took evasive maneuvers, managed not to hit anyone," said Peek.

Driver Gerald Hawkins, of Danville, swerved sharply onto the shoulder and sped past the waiting cars before being able to stop several yards past the fair entrance.


"I just wasn't expecting people to stop," explained a shaken Hawkins. "My attention was just elsewhere."

Moments before, Peek had approached the passenger side of the first vehicle stopped in the right-hand lane on U.S. 127 outside the entrance.

Peek was on the shoulder directly in Hawkins' path, but at the last moment realized the sedan wasn't going to stop and dove out of its way.

The sedan "mowed down a couple of cones," said Peek, and struck a paper "demolition derby canceled" sign before coming to a stop, but no one was injured.

The only signs of the accident were the scraps of neon orange paint on the underbody of the mauve sedan.

It was the first time something like this had happened to him, Peek said. "At this point, there won't be any charges," or paperwork filed, he said.

Peek cited the accident as a result of traffic stopped in front of the fair and the slick road conditions, without fault of the driver.

Within 10 minutes of Peek's close call, evidence of the accident was removed and Hawkins was free to leave.

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