12/31/09 — Deputy in serious condition

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Deputy in serious condition

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on December 31, 2009 1:46 PM

Authorities have cited a woman accused of causing a crash that injured her and a Wayne County Sheriff's Office deputy, the investigating trooper says.

Highway Patrol Trooper L.J. Bunn said Susan Pope Walston, 50, was charged with failure to yield the right of way to Deputy Dan Truhan.

Truhan was headed north on U.S. 117 just north of the Belfast Fire Station to another accident call around 7:30 a.m., with his emergency equipment and blue lights activated, when the accident happened.

He was undergoing surgery at Wayne Memorial Hospital on Wednesday afternoon, Capt. Tom Effler said, after suffering from both a broken leg and a broken arm.

Effler said that Truhan will suffer permanent consequences as a result of the accident.

"He may never be able to run again," Effler said, adding that more medical evaluation is needed before the full extent of Truhan's injuries is known.

The other accident victim, Ms. Walston, was last known to be in fair condition at Pitt Memorial Hospital, the investigating trooper said. Pitt Memorial Hospital had not released any further information since Ms. Walston was taken there Wednesday, Bunn said.

The trooper said he is not sure why Ms. Walston made a left turn in front of Truhan's 2009 Ford Crown Victoria, from Woodview Drive in Belfast onto U.S. 117 North around 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

"It wasn't speed," the trooper said, adding that there is no suspicion that alcohol or any other intoxicant played a role.

Both Truhan's cruiser and Ms. Pope's pickup truck were totaled in the crash.

The catalytic converter in Truhan's cruiser caused a small grass fire, authorities said, which was quickly extinguished.

Truhan was headed to an accident call on Pikeville-Princeton Road near Northwest Elementary School when the crash occurred, Effler said.