Police Chief Collier back at work following car accident

Published 9:04 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier is still recovering from injuries he sustained in a car crash earlier this month.

Collier broke his collar bone, fractured a vertebra in his neck and suffered a concussion.

“Overall, I’m feeling better. There’s been days when I did not feel well, and wondered if my career was over,” Collier said last Friday. “I don’t want it to be. I’m committed to this mayor and committed to this city, so I’m going to do everything in my power to continue to police.”

The wreck occurred while Collier was driving home from Selma on U.S Highway 80 East on Aug. 14 around 7:45 p.m. in Montgomery County.

An accident report from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency reads that Collier’s vehicle “ran off the road on the left, reentered the roadway and then the driver over corrected.”

The report continues: “Vehicle 1 then began rotating in a counter clockwise motion as it left the roadway on the left, crossed the median and struck vehicle 2.”

The driver of the other vehicle told officers he saw Collier’s vehicle start to lose control and tried to avoid the collision, but he couldn’t.

“Numbers don’t lie, and neither does physics, and I don’t disagree with how [the investigator] has the physics of the accident occurring,” Collier said.

Collier and the driver of the other vehicle were transported by ambulance to Baptist South Medical Center in Montgomery. The other driver was hurt but did not suffer any major injuries, according to Alabama State Troopers.

Collier said he doesn’t remember anything about the crash itself, but he is starting to recall more and more about the day of the crash. He recalls having an Al.com columnist and videographer ride with him that day, working a detail at a water board meeting and backing up an officer on a domestic violence call.

“I remember responding to the call, and the next thing I remember I woke up in an ambulance,” Collier said, adding he doesn’t know what caused him to wreck.

According to the accident report, a blood sample was obtained from Collier and sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences. Collier said the city also does blood tests for city employees involved in accidents while driving city vehicles.

“Any situation an officer is in, whether it’s an accident, some use of force or shooting, we do blood tests, so that was part of that. It’s standard,” Collier said.

Collier was driving a city-issued vehicle when the accident occurred and has been driving to Selma for work. Collier said he and his family have not moved to Selma yet due to a pending lawsuit against former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

“Originally it was supposed to be through June, and then I asked for an extension because mediation was going on with my lawsuit,” Collier said Friday. “I explained the situation and the financial burden, and he [Mayor Darrio Melton] seemed to understand. He’s been clear. He expects me to move here, and we want to be here.”

Until he can return to work fulltime, he said he has been cleared to come to work two to three days a week.

“Until I’m healthy, I’m not going to be answering calls or carrying guns, or doing those things to put myself in a situation to get hurt worse,” he said.

“There’s still plenty of administrative work here to be done. I’m going to do that for two reasons. Number one is I don’t want to get behind. Number two is I want it to be clear to the people of Selma, and I want it to be clear to my boss that I intend to stay here.”

Collier said his doctor told him it would take six to eight weeks to fully recover from the accident unless surgery has to be done, which he hopes he doesn’t have to have.