Gwinnett school resource officer critical after crash

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BUFORD, Ga. - A Gwinnett County school resource officer hit by a car while directing traffic Wednesday morning was in critical condition.

The crash happened on the 900 block of Buford Highway as the officer was directing traffic at Lanier High School. The road was closed for several hours between Woodward Mill Road and Old Suwanee road while police investigated.

The officer, identified as Rolando Jimenez, was taken to the hospital to be treated for critical injuries. He has been with the Gwinnett County School district since 2011. School officials said he is well known by students, and they have counselors available to help students who witnessed the crash.

Gwinnett County police said 22-year-old Sydney Smigiel of Buford was driving a white Jeep Cherokee that ran over Jimenez, then she hit a Ford Focus.

Jaylin Gilliam, a junior at Lanier High School, said he was driving the Ford when he was hit head-on by Smigiel.

"That vehicle was struck by the vehicle that struck the officer. After impact, that vehicle then rolled over the officer, so basically he was hit twice," Gwinnett police Cpl. Ed Ritter told Channel 2's Sophia Choi.

"A lady started knocking at the window telling us to get out when smoke was in there, so me and my brother dashed out and I saw Officer Jimenez under my car in the back. His leg was underneath," Gillam said.

Gilliam said he found out his brother was OK and then worked to roll his car off the officer's leg.

"We turned my car in neutral and me and the girl behind me in the blue car started pushing the car off of him," Gilliam said.

The Gwinnett County Police Accident Investigation Unit is investigating. Police said Smigiel would face charges for failing to obey an officer's traffic directions at the minimum.

"She was in tears. She just hit a bunch of high schoolers and an officer from the back," Gilliam said.

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