Gadsden police officer in critical condition following accident - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Gadsden police officer in critical condition following accident

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GADSDEN - AL -

A Gadsden police officer remains in critical but stable condition at UAB Hospital following an off-duty crash Saturday.

Gary Pierce suffered a traumatic brain injury when a pick-up truck collided with his motorcycle at the intersection of Whorton Bend Road and Rainbow Drive (Highway 431).

Other officers are rallying to support Pierce's family emotionally and financially.

"A lot of people today think that government workers have this benefit package that's enormous, and that's just not the case, and the Pierce family will run out of benefits in a very short time period," Gadsden police captain Paul Cody said.

Officers set up an account at WinSouth bank to assist Pierce's family with expenses.  People can donate to the "Gary Pierce Recovery Fund" at any branch.

"Gary is a cop's cop.  He has that innate leadership ability that you don't see a lot of times in officers today," Cody said.

"He really cares about his men and he really cares about his community."

Pierce joined the Gadsden police 18 years ago and currently holds the rank of sergeant.  Prior to his career in law enforcement, he spent several years in the Army, where he also earned the rank of sergeant.

Through a partnership with the Etowah County Sheriff's Office, Pierce joined the Drug Task Force as an agent from 2005 to 2009.  He returned to the unit as Sergeant of Operations in 2013.  He is the senior team leader for the Joint Special Operations Group, which handles SWAT operations for the county.

"He's an expert firearms instructor very knowledgeable in the tactics and the techniques of modern SWAT operations and he just has a unique ability to convey that to the people that he instructs," drug task force commander Rob Savage said.

Savage is also an Army veteran, and he and Pierce together attended the funeral of Colonel Ola Mize on Saturday morning.  He said motorcycles were Pierce's hobby, and the wreck happened just hours later.  Investigators said one vehicle failed to yield to another.  Neither alcohol nor speed were a factor.

"This was not intentional, or recklessness.  This was an accident but unfortunately as a result of this a lot of lives have changed in the last 48 hours," Savage said.

"Gary's one of those people who always has led from the front.  And so for that reason I think this is particularly tough on a lot of us, to see him get so seriously hurt in what amounted to an accident."

Some motorcycle riders with whom Pierce regularly rode will have a "Ride for Gary P" on Saturday, March 29, at 11 a.m.  They plan to collect funds to assist the Pierce family.  First Responders for Christ also intend to provide some financial support to Pierce.

For updates on Sergeant Pierce's condition and to send your support to the family, visit the "Prayers for Gary P" Facebook page.

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