HIAWASSSEE, Ga. – Nearly twelve weeks after a North Carolina motor vehicle accident left one man dead, two victims injured, and an eyewitness traumatized, WXIA-TV 11 (11Alive News) in Atlanta, in cooperation with FetchYourNews (FYN), has completed an in-depth investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragic event. A broadcast is expected to be televised on WXIA-TV 11 in coming days. The initial segment is scheduled for release Tuesday, May 21, at 11 pm. A detailed report will follow Sunday, May 26.
On the evening of Saturday, Feb. 23, a head-on vehicle collision took the life of Terry Samuel Silvers, a Hiawassee native, leaving a grandmother and granddaughter wounded, and Heather Segars, a good samaritan who attempted to prevent the deadly crash by summoning Towns County authorities, devastated. Public outrage flared upon learning the facts surrounding the fatal collision, prompting the Atlanta-based news channel to conduct a dual investigation.
Renowned WXIA-TV 11 Chief Investigator Brendan Keefe contacted FYN shortly after the viral-release of the 911 audio recording in which the frantic caller, Heather Segars, pleads for law enforcement to respond to an erratic driver, later identified to dispatchers as Terry Silvers, while headed westbound on State Route 76 in Young Harris, GA. A Towns County Sheriff’s Office cruiser’s siren can be heard bypassing distraught Segars, who pursued Silvers’ vehicle across the state line until the time of the fatal impact, in response to a previous call which two officers had adequately covered.
The deputy in question, Corporal Gregory Joseph – also known as officer “112” – responded to two prior accidents involving Silvers, one of which occurred the night before the fatal crash. Despite testimony from numerous witnesses who stated Silvers clearly appeared to be impaired – including an adament account from an on-scene, veteran law enforcement officer from a neighboring county – Silvers was again released to return to the roadways without facing charges. According to Georgia’s Police Officer Standard Training (POST) records, Corporal Joseph has never participated in roadside drug-detection training, nor has the deputy received sufficent DUI training in over a decade.
Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton issued a statement to the county’s legal organ in the weeks following the highly controversial accident, denying departmental responsibilty, much to the dismay of many of the citiizens the lead lawman had sworn to serve.
FYN recently received a requested copy of Silvers’ toxicology report from the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office which revealed Silvers did not have alcohol in his system at the time of his death. A screening for additional substances was not conducted, however, despite widespread knowledge that Silvers battled an opioid addiction. Family, friends, and law enforcement officers attested that Silvers was a well-known substance abuser in the community. North Carolina authorities stated that in the event of a death when the manner is apparent – such as a vehicle fatality – toxicology screenings are typically limited to alcohol detection.
FYN spoke with 911 caller Heather Segars on the morning of May 15, inquiring into her current thoughts and condition.
“I’m holding on with a very thin rope every day,” Segars shared. “I still have anxiety today. I’ve had to be put on Valium. Some days are better than others.” Segars said she holds Towns County Sheriff’s Office responsible for the cost of her psychiatric treatment and the lost wages which ensued as a result of the accident, but foremost, Segars said what she wants most is for Towns County Sheriff Chris Clinton to be held accountable. “I want to know why Sheriff Clinton won’t take responsibilty. I would like to see change in the department. We deserve someone with experience on issues like this. I would like to see Clinton resign. I’d also like a public apology from his wife for posting unrelated things about my past under his social media account after the accident.”
FYN continues to offer a platform for the sheriff to comment.
Continue to follow FYN as the release of the WXIA-TV 11 investigation approaches.
Feature Image: Terry Silvers