HAZARD — A Perry County sheriff’s deputy is improving this week at the University of Kentucky Medical Center following a motorcycle accident on Friday afternoon.
Deputy Daniel Fugate was riding his motorcycle on Combs Road in the Airport Gardens community on May 18 when a driver pulled out of the Circle T Restaurant in front of him. According to Perry County Chief Deputy Tony Eversole, the driver, Melvin Smith, 67, did not see Fugate before turning, and that’s when Fugate’s bike collided with Smith’s vehicle. Smith was not injured in the wreck.
At the scene, Fugate’s injuries were thought to be life-threatening, and he was flown to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington. According to reports, he was listed in fair condition on Tuesday.
Fugate suffered a broken neck and leg among other injuries, though Eversole said he is recovering as well as they could hope for.
“He had a major leg surgery last night and he is doing good from it,” Eversole noted Monday afternoon.
Fugate is also expected to be undergoing another surgery soon, and while his family and fellow deputies are optimistic and hoping for a full recovery, it will likely be some time before that happens.
“It is a long road ahead of him,” Eversole said.
Several of Fugate’s fellow sheriff’s office employees have gone to visit him in the hospital, including Eversole, who said he followed the helicopter to the hospital.
“I followed the helicopter down and stayed late,” he noted. “[Sheriff Les Burgett] is there today and I am going back tomorrow.”
Fugate has been with the sheriff’s office for the past two years, though he has only been a deputy for around one year. He began his career working for court security at the Perry County Justice Center.
“He had just completed fire arms instructor school,” Eversole said. “He had come back to work Monday. He worked four days, and then he was involved in this accident.”
Before working for the sheriff’s office, Fugate also served in the United States Military, serving in Afghanistan.