Driver charged in Headquarters crash


Photo by Kevin Dowdy for
Photo by Kevin Dowdy for

The man who drove a pickup truck through the plate-glass front window of the Headquarters Hair Salon in Bainbridge has been cited for multiple traffic offenses, according to Bainbridge Public Safety.

James Carlton, 64, of 716 Helen St, Bainbridge, accidentally crashed his Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck into the business, causing significant damage to the business. Fortunately, none of the salon’s employees or customers were injured.

Carlton was given citations for reckless driving, failure to maintain lane, driving on the wrong side of the road and striking a fixed object. He will have to appear in Bainbridge Municipal Court on July 23.

To see a video interview with one of the patrons of Headquarters describing the crash, please see our original story from Friday: Truck drives through front window of hair salon

BPS officers still aren’t exactly sure what caused Carlton to run off of S. Scott Street and into the Scott Street Shopping Plaza, where he ran through an empty parking space and smashed into the business. The truck came to rest deep into the building, punching a hole in two walls and demolishing some of the salon’s products and equipment. The crash tore through electrical lines and water lines, causing a big mess on the floor of the business, which is now closed indefinitely until renovations can be done.

According to a report by BPS Officer Seth Stroup, Carlton may have been suffering from several factors, including fatigue, dehydration and low electrolytes caused by working outside in extreme heat. In addition, Carlton may have been at risk for seizures based on his medical history. BPS Deputy Director Frank Green said officers do not believe Carlton was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.

Photo by Kevin Dowdy for
Photo by Kevin Dowdy for

From interviewing numerous witnesses and conducting a thorough accident investigation, BPS Officer Seth Stroup was able to come to the following conclusions, in the officer’s words:

  • James Carlton most likely experienced a medical condition while driving south on S. Scott Street
  • Carlton passed under the traffic light at E. Shotwell Street. The light was green when he went through the intersection (confirmed by witnesses).
  • Carolton stated he saw the vehicles stopped in the roadway. At this time, Carlton began seizing.
  • Carlton tried to stop, but could not use his foot that was on the accelerator.
  • Carlton attempted to swerve to the right (west) to miss the vehicles, but after going around the first vehicle, the front tires struck the curb, pulling the vehicle back to the left (east) and into the side of a black Crown Victoria.
  • Carlton was likely fully seized and was no longer controlling the Chevrolet Silverado directly; however, Carlton’s foot was still pressing the accelerator and his hands were locked onto the steering wheels straight.
  • The truck “bounced off the black Crown Victoria and back to the right (east) travelling down the sidewalk. Carlton’s vehicle then struck another curb at the south side of the exit of the Labor Department parking lot, causing the truck to “bounce” left (east) and travel down S. Scott Street

The events just prior to the crash, again in Officer Stroup’s words:

  • As the vehicle continued south on S. Scott Street, it passed into the wrong lane and traveled some distance (approximately 200 feet) until it “jumped” the curb of the entrance to the Domino’s parking lot.
  • After “jumping” the curb the vehicle–with Carlton still locked onto the steering wheel and pressing the accelerator–continued straight while accelerating and crashed into the building.

Officer Stroup issued the citations at Memorial Hospital, where Carlton was taken after the accident. According to Stroup, Carlton seemed confused and was having trouble remembering what had happened. Once the officer explained what had happened, Carlton expressed genuine regret for what had happened and was relieved that no one was injured.

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