Washington C.H. Police Department Chief Brian Hottinger is recovering at home from serious injuries he sustained during a one-vehicle accident Friday afternoon when he was ejected from his Jeep Wrangler.
Hottinger, 55, was released from Grant Medical Center in Columbus on Tuesday. On Friday just before 5 p.m., he was driving his 1995 Jeep Wrangler westbound on Greenfield-Sabina Road in Perry Township, 500 feet west of Barrett Road. According to the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office report, Hottinger, the sole occupant of the vehicle, “failed to maintain full time and attention.”
The Jeep left the roadway to the right, struck a ditch, struck a fence and then struck two trees. Hottinger was ejected from the vehicle when it struck the ditch, according to reports.
During a phone conversation with the Record-Herald after he returned home Tuesday afternoon, Hottinger said he sustained six vertebrae fractures, five broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder during the accident.
“I was released from Grant Trauma Center and came home (Tuesday),” said Hottinger. “I really want to commend the people at Grant. They did such a great job and I greatly appreciate everything that they did. As far as the accident goes, I don’t know what happened. I don’t remember. I remember leaving the Chamber golf outing at Buckeye Hills. My Jeep had an open top and open doors on it at the time. I was knocked unconscious for a short time when I was ejected. I’m just glad I’m still here and I’m very thankful that I was the only one in the vehicle.”
Hottinger was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident, which he said he regrets. Traffic charges are pending once the sheriff’s office investigation is complete.
Hottinger said his recovery time is expected to be six to eight weeks.
“I’m still in quite a bit of pain,” he said. “My movements are just very deliberate right now. I’m just going to take it easy with my wife and family while I recover. I’ll be in contact with Lieutenant Rusty Lowe and Lieutenant Jeff Funari throughout my recovery.”
Hottinger added that Lowe has assumed command of the department during his absence.
“This is why we have the rank structure in place, so if something happens to me everyone knows what the procedure is,” said Hottinger. “We don’t really miss a beat. The department is in good hands. Rusty is going to take care of the Scarecrow Festival (held downtown Sept. 20-22) and that will operate as normal.”
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.