August 14, 2013

Emergency dispatcher killed in car crash

Associated Press

SAVANNAH —  Chatham County emergency dispatcher died after crashing into a county-owned truck in Savannah Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Keri Clark, 23, of Lakeland, died when she rear-ended a county truck that was stopped on Veterans Parkway, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan police spokesman Julian Miller said in a statement.

The truck was behind a mower that was cutting grass along the guard rails that line Veterans Parkway, police said. The truck’s emergency lights and directional arrows were illuminated and operating at the time of the crash, Miller said.

The 53-year-old truck driver was treated for non-life threatening injuries at Memorial University Medical Center, Miller said. He added that the parkway was shut down for several hours after the crash.

Clark was Chatham County’s 2013 EMS Dispatcher of the Year, and had worked in the communications department for two years, Miller said.

“As a 911 dispatcher, Keri Clark was constantly involved in saving lives,” Police Chief Willie Lovett said in a statement. “Almost every member of this department at some time probably has depended on her for vital information. This was a shock to our entire communications department and the rest of us are saddened as well.”

Clark was named dispatcher of the year after spending nearly an hour on the phone with a suicidal woman the morning of March 8 while police searched an area near the Talmadge Memorial Bridge — which spans the Savannah River north of downtown.

The woman later called the communications center to personally thank Clark for listening, Miller said.