Officer's death highlights a dangerous intersection

Well-wishers filled a memorial for Lewis (Source: WTOC)
Well-wishers filled a memorial for Lewis (Source: WTOC)
Ogeechee Road and Chevis Road (Source: WTOC)
Ogeechee Road and Chevis Road (Source: WTOC)
Crash scene Saturday morning where Lewis died (Source: WTOC)
Crash scene Saturday morning where Lewis died (Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - An off-duty Tybee Island Police officer was the latest to lose his life on what drivers call a dangerous Chatham County intersection.

Officer Tron Lewis died early Saturday morning along Ogeechee Road, near Chevis Road. We're told a car pulled out in front of Lewis while he was on his motorcycle.

In fact just Sunday, there was a second accident in the exact same spot. In one year, police have responded to 12 wrecks at the intersection. That adds up to at least one wreck a month.

Drivers said speeding and distracted drivers are all over this road, especially in the morning and afternoon rush hour.

Unfortunately, this latest wreck highlights a dangerous stretch of roadway in Chatham County.

Charles Mitchell owns a car washing business at a gas station near Ogeechee Road and Chevis Road. The location has led to some good business. It's also given him a front row seat to a dangerous road. He was out here Saturday morning when Officer Lewis crashed.

"I just heard the crash. I happened to walk out and look at the end of the road and I saw a lot of cars coming by, the ambulances, fire trucks, and everything else coming by," said Mitchell.

The crash is just the latest in a busy year for Savannah-Chatham Metro Police. In addition to wrecks, Mitchell sees near-misses too.

"A lot of times they'll pull right on out. Pull in front of you or whatever. I've seen it happen a lot of times. [Highway] 17 is a pretty busy street," said Mitchell.

"Some people cut in front of you. Some people blow their horns at you. Some people give you the finger," said Larry Jenkins.

Jenkins spends a lot of time on the road back and forth from Savannah to Riceboro. He drives differently out here.

"I try to be alert at all times. I try to drive within the speed limit. And I just try to stay a defensive driver more or less," said Jenkins.

Meanwhile, out at Tybee, you see the harsh reality of the road's dangers.

"Definitely it's going to be hard to fill. He's one of those guys. I met him about four years ago at the academy. And as soon as I met him, I was like how can I get a guy like that to come work for me," said Tybee Police Chief Robert Bryson.

Chief Bryson looks at all of his officers as sons and daughters. Tron died doing what many of the other officers love to do.

"I love to ride a motorcycle myself and some of the young officers here, too. Tron's just taken too young from us, and it's devastating," said Chief Bryson.

It's devastating loss that leaves a big hole in a tight-knit police family. Tybee police want to use this time to obviously honor Officer Lewis. They also want to remind drivers to look twice for motorcycles. They're all over the road, and even minor crashes can be deadly.

Lewis's death comes at a time when the department is gearing up for tons of people on the island.

This weekend and next, spring breakers will head to Tybee for Orange Crush. The event brings hundreds of partygoers to the beach.

Despite that, Chief Bryson says Officer Lewis would have added so much more to the patrol.

"Our Super Bowl is coming up the next two weeks with Orange Crush. And Tron's presence, physical and emotionally, he's a mature enough person to work in a situation like that that can have a calming effect on everybody," said Bryson.

Chief Bryson said Lewis would have served as a public information officer during Orange Crush.

Please stay with us as we continue to follow the crash investigation along with funeral arrangements for the officer. Chief Bryson says they are planning on fundraisers for the Lewis family in the future.

Copyright 2017 WTOC. All rights reserved.