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Erwin policeman seriously injured in crash after swerving to miss deer

March 4th, 2014 8:49 am by Brad Hicks

Erwin policeman seriously injured in crash after swerving to miss deer

Police respond the crash (Contributed)

ERWIN — An Erwin policeman remained in serious condition Monday after a single-vehicle crash that occurred overnight in Unicoi County.

Patrolman Gregg Copp, who has been with the department since January, was injured in the accident, which occurred around midnight Monday. Erwin Police Chief Regan Tilson said Copp was on his way to work and swerved to avoid a deer in the roadway on Temple Hill Road when his cruiser went over an embankment.

Tilson also said there was a witness to the crash — someone out walking in the area — who confirmed Copp swerved to avoid the animal.

Crews responded to the scene, and Copp was transported to the Johnson City Medical Center.

“He’s holding on, but he’s definitely got some serious injuries,” Tilson said. “He will have a lengthy recovery.”

Prior to his tenure at the department, Copp worked for the Unicoi County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Mike Hensley said he is unsure of how long Copp was with the department, but he said it was “quite a while.”

Hensley also said Copp was responsible for patrolling the town of Unicoi for some time and was a shift supervisor at the sheriff’s department before leaving to join the Erwin force. The sheriff also said Copp was a professional officer.

“He was a good officer in what time he worked for me,” Hensley said.

Town of Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch said Copp was the first deputy assigned to the town more than a decade ago. Lynch called Copp a “good friend and a good citizen. Everybody thinks the world of him, so we’re all concerned about his injury.”

Like others, Tilson praised Copp’s work as an officer with his department.

“He’s been a great asset to the department,” Tilson said. “He is well-liked within the community, and he is very popular with our citizens. ... We’re hoping for a speedy recovery.”

Tilson also said he spoke with Copp on Monday, and Copp remains in good spirits despite his injuries. Copp was appreciate of the well-wishes that he has received thus far, Tilson said.

“He would convey to everybody to wear their seatbelts, because it obviously made a difference for him in this crash.”

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