Injured School Resource Officer Facing a Long Recovery

School Resource Officer Ronaldo Jimenez was struck by a vehicle as he was directing traffic in front of Lanier High School on Feb. 13.

The wife of School Resource Officer Ronaldo Jimenez issued a statement Thursday afternoon thanking the community for their support and explaining the extent of the injuries Jimenez suffered when he was struck by a vehicle as he was directing traffic in front of Lanier High School.

"First, let us express our appreciation for the thoughts and prayers that have been sent our way following yesterday's accident," Melissa Jimenez wrote in a statement released by Gwinnett County Public Schools. "My husband is currently in serious but stable condition after undergoing surgery to address internal bleeding and to set his jaw which was broken during the accident. He also suffered a broken pelvis and a knee injury. While we know that he has a long recovery ahead of him, we are thankful that he is alive and look forward to the day when he is able to return home and to the work he loves."

Police say 22-year-old Sydney Smigiel of Buford was traveling southbound on Buford Highway in a white 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee. SRO Jimenez was directing traffic at the entrance to Lanier High School and signaled for southbound traffic to stop and began directing northbound vehicles in the left turn lane to turn left into the school.

"Ms. Smigiel failed to obey Officer Jimenez’s direction to stop and struck Officer Jimenez as the other vehicles were turning left," Gwinnett County Police Department public information officer Cpl. Ed Ritter said in a released statement. "Officer Jimenez went airborn and landed in the left turn lane for the high school. Ms. Smigiel then struck a vehicle turning left head on and pushed that vehicle onto Officer Jimenez."

The other vehicle, a red 2012 Ford Focus, was driven by a 17-year-old Lanier High School student.

The Gwinnett County Police Accident Investigation Unit is investigating the accident. Ritter indicated Smigiel, at a minimum, faces charges of failing the officer's traffic directions.

"At the time of the accident, Officer Jimenez was wearing a reflective traffic vest and was using a flashlight with a bright orange traffic wand. His patrol car was also on the side of the road with the emergency lights flashing," Ritter added.

Lanier High School is located at 918 Buford Highway in Sugar Hill.

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