Family of deputy injured in hit-and-run expects long road to recovery

COLUMBUS, Ga. - A Muscogee County Sheriff's deputy is recovering from his second surgery, after he was hit by a car last week.

Deputy Richard Gribbins was trying to direct traffic around a stalled car on I-185 last Thursday night; however, he couldn't avoid the driver that hit him. The incident landed him in the hospital with a broken leg. News 3 spoke with Deputy Gribbins' wife Lizzy. She expects her husband's road to recovery to last at least four months.

"They put a rod in from his knee to ankle and it's shooting up in pain" Lizzy Gribbins said.

The pain was so severe, in fact, that the deputy was unable to speak with News 3 himself. The family has three kids, and Lizzy says they are coping.

"My eight-year-old son, who's the only one who can really understand what's going on, is worried and he didn't go to school today due to the surgery," Gribbins said. "He wanted to be close to daddy and make sure everything went good."

She adds one of her children celebrated a birthday Sunday, but the event couldn't be as cheerful this  year. The community is rallying to help the Muscogee County deputy and his family heal. Georgia Fraternal Order of Police President Randy Robertson says the deputy's perseverance is a reflection of his calling to serve.

"That connection is a connection that's not ever broken," Robertson said. "While you have to consider it in every situation, a lot of times it doesn't deter you from doing what is required to be done."

The Muscogee County Sheriff's Office and other local authorities continue to search for the driver responsible for Gribbins' injury. they're currently looking for a dark-colored late 90's to early 2000's model Toyota four-door sedan.

"He put this deputy and his family in a bad situation," Robertson said.

Anyone who sees a vehicle matching a similar description or has more information in this case should call the sheriff's office at 706-653-4225 or 911 immediately. Robertson believes the chances are slim that the suspect ultimately gets away.

"You have a better chance of defending yourself and managing the criminal justice system than you do if you flee like a guilty person if you have something to hide much greater or flee like a guilty person who may have done it intentionally," Robertson said.

Robertson says the local Fraternal Order of Police is trying to make sure Deputy Gribbins receives worker's compensation for his injury. Others are also reaching out to support the Gribbins family through this Go Fund Me page.

Lizzy says she'll continue to stand by her husband, as his plans include coming back to wear a sheriff's deputy's badge. Not much will numb Deputy Gribbins' itch to answer his calling.

"I've been with the man for nine years. This is what he was meant to do."


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