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Fiery crash kills Bryan Co. deputy
Deputy Robert Crapse introduces Bryan County Sheriffs Departments drug dog Seppe to Lanier Primary School students during Red Ribbon Week in October. Crapse was killed Friday in a car accident. - photo by Bryan County News file photo

Flags flew at half mast in Bryan County Friday after an early morning crash on I-95 killed a Bryan County deputy sheriff.

According to Georgia State Patrol Trooper Joel Mock, Deputy Robert “Bobby” Crapse, 32, of Ellabell was killed just after 2 a.m. Friday when his K-9 unit car was hit head on by a Toyota Corolla at mile marker 96 in Pooler.

The driver of the other car, Patricia Ann Collins, 23, of Richmond Hill, was driving south in the northbound lane of I-95 when her vehicle struck Crapse’s patrol car, Mock said.

Collins was flown to Memorial University Medical Center where she remains in serious condition, according to the GSP. Mock said Collins may have been drinking, but the accident is still under investigation.

According to Bryan County Sheriff Clyde Smith, Crapse was on duty when the accident occurred. Crapse and Deputy Seth Strickland were driving from South Bryan to North Bryan on traffic patrol.

Mock said Crapse’s K-9 partner Seppe suffered minor injuries but will be fine. Smith said the dog will likely be retired and live with Crapse’s family. Crapse is survived by a wife and three children, ages 10, 8 and 6, Smith said.

Smith said they were “understandably upset.” His staff, he said, was also affected.

“They (the deputies) are doing fairly well, the ones that are on duty today,” Smith said. “The ones that were working last night when this occurred weren’t doing nearly as well this morning.”

Southside EMS, Savannah Fire Department, Pooler Police, Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police and Bryan County responded to the accident.

Smith said he does not know yet of any charges stemming from the crash.

Smith said a fund has been set up for the Crapse family at The Heritage Bank in Pembroke, but noted it was not set up by the department. He said Crapse will be promoted to sergeant before his funeral, which had not been set.

Crapse, a graduate of Bryan County High School, had been with the department since 1999. He is the second Bryan County deputy to be killed in accidents in recent years. In December 2006, Sgt. Michael Larson was killed in a crash while responding to a request for backup.

A Guyton man, John Lynwood Smith, pled guilty in 2008 to first degree vehicular homicide and DUI. He was given 10 years probation and served two and a half years in a probation detention center.

Smith said Crapse was on duty when Larson was killed.

“Bobby went to Washington (D.C.) when they put the first officer (Larson) on the memorial up in Washington,” Smith said.
Deputy Randy Fields described Crapse as a hard worker. Fields said Crapse was also  a good friend.

“I’ll probably miss his friendship,” Fields said. “Bobby was a good friend. He was funny, he was fun to be around … and I enjoyed working with him.”

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