June 28--Spalding County Sheriff Dee Stewart remains hospitalized in critical, but stable condition following a two-vehicle wreck Thursday.
Stewart sustained a serious head injury when he entered the intersection of Ga. Highway 10-41 and Moose Lodge Road in Griffin.
Sgt. John Corbett, of the Georgia State Patrol-Griffin Post, said Stewart was traveling eastbound on Moose Lodge Road when he pulled into the path of a Ford Explorer driven by 28-year-old Chad Gasaway, Stewart's grandson.
The point of impact was Stewart's passenger-side door, and his Silverado pickup truck came to a final rest in a ditch approximately 30 to 40 feet away.
Gasaway was transported by private vehicle to Spalding Regional Medical Center where he was treated for minor injuries and released.
Authorities say it took approximately 30 minutes for Emergency Medical Service personnel to stabilize Stewart at the scene and he was subsequently flown to the trauma unit of Atlanta Medical Center, where he remains in a medically induced coma.
Stewart took office in 2001, the same year as Upson County Sheriff Don Peacock, who said they went to Sheriff School together.
According to Peacock, that was the beginning of not only a longstanding professional relationship, but a close personal relationship, as well.
"Dee and I are close friends," Peacock said. "We sat at the same table together in Sheriff School in 2000 and we've always been close since. I hate that this has happened. I hope everything works out for him. All we can do is pray for him and hope he pulls through this. He's a strong man. Every time he's needed help from us, he's gotten it and it's certainly been the same for us. We've always worked well together and helped each other out any time it's been needed."
Peacock then recounted a joke dating back to the beginning of their relationship.
"I use to tell people he copied off my test and that's the only reason he passed Sheriff School," Peacock said. "Of course, I was just joking -- you don't even take any tests in Sheriff School -- but he called me up, laughing, and said, 'Don't you be telling people that!'"
All joking aside, Peacock said Stewart is an outstanding sheriff and a good man for whom he will be lifting up prayer for a full recovery.
"He's always been a good sheriff and he still is a good sheriff," he said.