Ludowici Police Chief Robert Poppell was taken to Wayne Memorial Hospital complaining of shoulder pain after the patrol car he was in was hit by a pickup and burst into flames Thursday morning. It was unclear Thursday afternoon whether Poppell has been released from the hospital.
Georgia State Trooper Robert Balkcom said Poppell was in the center turning lane on Highway 84 west of Ludowici and running his tag reader when a 2010 Chevy 2500 pickup driven by James Madray, 63, of Jesup, hit Poppell's car. The truck, which belongs to CSX transportation, was headed west when the collision occurred.
The truck driven by Madray, who told authorities he had fallen asleep, struck Poppell's 2007 Ford Crown Victoria in the left rear of the patrol car causing it to rotate 115 feet before stopping and bursting into flames.
Madray was not injured in the accident. He was cited for failure to maintain lanes and not wearing a seat belt.