Photo courtesy of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff Mike Fitzhugh and Sheriff’s Cpl. Michael Rodgers of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office presented Dispatcher Ashley Arrington with the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s “Saved by the Belt” Award Tuesday after she survived a potentially fatal car crash.
Arrington, a dispatcher at the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, was involved in a vehicle crash on June 16 on Interstate 24 near La Vergne. At the time, Arrington was returning to work after visiting her boyfriend, Murfreesboro Police Officer Devin Sorensen.
In a Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office press release, Arrington stated that she noticed an allegedly speeding driver in her rear-view mirror and then “very clearly” saw the driver strike three people who were standing in the median due to having a flat tire. The driver also forced Arrington’s car into a semi-truck, but her seat belt prevented her from being seriously hurt. Arrington told Sidelines that the experience made her more aware of the importance of buckling up while driving.
“Every time I get on an interstate now, it’s something that I’m constantly reminded of,” Arrington said.
After the crash, Arrington hopped out of her car to check on the three people who were struck by the driver’s vehicle. All three victims survived the incident.
“It was just instinct,” Arrington said. “My first instinct is to try to help in any way I can.”
Along with THP representatives, Rodgers responded to the crash and learned that Arrington was wearing her seat belt at the time of the incident.
“If she wasn’t wearing her seat belt, she may not have survived,” Rodgers said in the press release.
According to the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, there were 1,040 fatal traffic crashes in 2017, which is an increase from 1,037 in 2016 and 962 in 2015. The office also reported in 2016 that 50 percent of people killed in crashes in Tennessee were not wearing seatbelts.
The award presented to Arrington congratulated her on a “lifesaving choice and for the strong example you provide to others on the importance of wearing safety belts.”
“I think (people) should definitely look at situations like this and see that a seat belt literally saved my life, and maybe they would think twice before they get in the car and not buckle up,” Arrington said.
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