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Posted: December 23, 2010 5:13 p.m.

Off-duty jailer injured in crash

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Black

An off-duty Newton County Jail detention officer was injured Wednesday afternoon when the motorcycle he was driving was hit by an alleged drunk driver.

According to reports from the Covington Police Department, officers responded about 7:15 p.m. to a wreck on U.S. Highway 278. When they arrived, they found a man lying on the road and a motorcycle on the right side of the road with debris scattered around.

Witnesses told officers that the motorcycle was eastbound in the right lane and a green Dodge Stealth was traveling west when the driver turned left onto U.S. 278 while the light was green for both vehicles. However, the driver of the Dodge had failed to yield, and when he turned, he struck the side of the motorcycle, causing the driver to lose control, strike the ground and skid off the roadway. The Dodge then completed its turn and headed south on Mill Street.

One witness told officers that she saw the Dodge pull into the parking lot of the Bank of North Georgia and watched as a white male, later identified as 51-year-old Christopher Eugene Black, got out of his car.

Officers detained Black while witnesses were asked to verify that his vehicle was involved in the accident. Officers also checked the vehicle for damages and noted that the front left area had damage and that pieces of paint and debris were recovered from the intersection that matched the damage to Black’s vehicle.

They spoke with Black and asked if he had been involved in the wreck and he reportedly said, "I don’t know. I just live right up the street and I’m trying to get home."

Officers reported that they smelled a strong odor of alcohol on Black’s breath and that his speech was slurred. He was unsteady on his feet, according to reports, swaying when he stood still and staggering when he walked. He allegedly consented to sobriety tests and officers noted that he failed several of them.

Black was arrested and officers said they found an open, partially consumed bottle of vodka in the glove compartment box of the vehicle.

On a breath test at the Newton County Detention Center, Black reportedly registered .280. The legal limit in Georgia is .08. He was charged with DUI, open container, failure to yield turning left and failure to change address on license.

As of press time the detention officer who was hit was in stable condition and Black remained in the Newton County Jail.

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