Sheriff: Cellphone distracted man hits deputy in school zone

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LUGOFF, S.C. (AP/WBTW) – Authorities say a deputy has been released from the hospital hours after being struck by a SUV driver looking at his cellphone while speeding through a South Carolina school zone.

Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan said the driver was going 40 mph (64 kph) when he hit deputy Chelsea Cockrell about 7:10 a.m. Thursday outside Lugoff Elementary School.

Boan posted video on Facebook showing Cockrell directing traffic in a reflective jacket and waving reflective batons when she was hit. She braces herself a moment before the impact on state Highway 34.

The speed limit for the school zone is 25 mph (40 kph).

Courtesy: Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office

Boan says the SUV driver told people at the scene he was looking at his cellphone and didn’t see the deputy. The Highway Patrol is investigating.

“This was an eye-opening incident that could have ended a lot worse. This needs to be a wake-up call to everyone out there who is willing to put their conveniency over safety,” said Sheriff Boan.

The Sheriff says Cockrell has been released from the hospital and is on her way home.

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