Press Briefing: School police officer struck
School and police officials brief the media after a school resource police officer was struck by a vehicle.
NORCROSS — A veteran school resource officer is expected to survive after he was struck by a vehicle following a fight and foot chase at Meadowcreek High School on Thursday morning, officials said.
Officer Chuck McCallum, 53, was hospitalized with injuries that are not believed to be life-threatening, said Gwinnett Public Schools spokeswoman Sloan Roach.
McCallum works in the neighboring Norcross Cluster but was called to Meadowcreek to assist when officials learned that at least three students had left campus following a fight in the school commons area, where students eat lunch. The fight was broken up by administrators and teachers, Roach said.
McCallum was pursuing students involved in the fight when he was struck by a Toyota passenger car driven by Meadowcreek student Jarvis Ruff, 17, who reportedly drove away. Impact occurred a short distance from the school on Steve Reynolds Boulevard at Windward Drive, police said.
Investigators were trying to determine Thursday if Ruff, a junior, was involved in the fight or not and why he was off campus.
“We don’t know if (the fight) has anything to with what happened to this officer,” Roach said at an afternoon press conference.
Gwinnett police were dispatched at 10:48 a.m. to assist the officer, and they found two students aiding him in the street when they arrived. One student pointed out Ruff, who had turned around and was driving past the scene, said Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith.
Officers drove after Ruff for about 1/4 mile until he veered off the roadway and crashed through a stone entrance sign for the Indian Trail Apartment Homes community. The car plummeted down an wooded embankment and caught fire as Ruff fled into the woods, where he was soon captured, Smith said.
Officers put out the small fire, which was contained to the vehicle’s engine area, with portable extinguishers, Smith said.
Ruff, who was not injured, was arrested on charges of speeding, hit and run, no drivers license, reckless driving, improper lane change and failure to report striking a fixed object.
Smith said it wasn’t clear if Ruff meant to hit the officer. Further charges are under investigation.
“The car did not belong to (Ruff) but we have no information that it was stolen,” he said.
McCallum has been employed by the school system since 1998, Roach said. The cause of the lunchroom fight is under investigation, she said.
“This is something we take very seriously,” she said.