Houston & Peach

Warner Robins man struck by a fleeing motorist has died

Bruce Snyder
Bruce Snyder

A Warner Robins man who was broadsided three weeks ago by a motorist fleeing a Houston County sheriff’s deputy has died.

Bruce Synder, 66, died Friday at the Medical Center, Navicent Center, from injuries sustained in the Nov. 6 crash, said Houston County Coroner Danny Galpin.

Synder was a husband, father, Sunday school teacher and retired, longtime civilian worker at Robins Air Force Base, according to his obituary.

Vernon Jerome Gibson, 40, who is accused of fleeing the scene of the three-vehicle crash, was arrested two days later and charged with fleeing, serious injury by motor vehicle and several other traffic-related offenses, according to Houston County jail records. He is being held without bond.

Whether the charges will be upgraded or other charges added will not be determined until a Georgia State Patrol Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team finishes its investigation of the crash, according to GSP spokeswoman Tracey Watson.

The case also is expected to be reviewed by the Houston County District Attorney’s Office.

According to the initial GSP report, Gibson was fleeing north on Carl Vinson Parkway when he ran a red light at the intersection of Carl Vinson Parkway and Leverette Road — slamming into the side of Synder’s vehicle as it was traveling on Leverette Road. A third vehicle stopped for the red light at Carl Vinson Parkway was struck by both vehicles.

After the crash, Gibson got out of the car, walked across the street, jumped the fence of some apartments and ran away, according the report.

Houston County sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Miller had attempted to pull Gibson over on Carl Vinson Parkway for failing to maintain lane, but Gibson took off at a high rate of speed, the report said.

The accused had previously fled from law enforcement.

Gibson was released early from prison in June 2015 after he was convicted in Houston County of fleeing from law enforcement in June 2014. He was sentenced to five years, to serve 18 months of those in prison and the rest on probation, according to Houston County Superior Court records. He was on probation when arrested in connection with the Nov. 6 crash.

Gibson previously served time in prison for a 1998 robbery by intimidation in Peach County, according to the Georgia Department of Corrections website.