HIAWASSEE, Ga. – New discoveries have surfaced surrounding the death of Terry Samuel Silvers, a 52 year old Hiawassee resident who was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident on the evening of Saturday, Feb. 23, in Clay County, N.C. Additional witnesses have come forth on Silvers’ behalf, attesting to Silvers’ condition on the evening preceding his death. Furthermore, FYN uncovered the circumstances surrounding the unresponsive, emergency call issued to Towns County Sheriff’s Office the following night.
FYN released information three days after Silvers’ passing, exposing that Silvers had been involved in a vehicle accident on Bugscuffle Road in Towns County, the night prior to the fatal crash. Towns County Sheriff’s Office’s accident report, which was submitted to FYN by a third-party, stated that alcohol and substance screenings were not conducted by law enforcement Feb. 22. FYN since learned that alcohol testing was, in fact, administered to Silvers by the responding deputy.
Terry Silvers was traveling south on Bugscuffle Road when his vehicle entered into the oncoming lane of traffic, colliding with a roadside fence. The accident report states that shifting firewood in the bed of Silvers’ truck contributed to the collision. FYN contacted the owner of the property damaged in the incident, Daren “Bear” Osborn, a veteran law enforcement officer from a neighboring county.
Osborn told FYN that he was present when Towns County Sheriff’s Office arrived on scene, and asserted that despite alcohol testing conducted on the now-deceased, Silvers, in his observation, should not have been behind the wheel Feb. 22.
“I didn’t smell alcohol, but based on my training and experience, 32 years, I recognized (Terry) was in no shape to drive due to his condition,” the off-duty deputy explained, “What strikes me as odd is that an alco sensor and HGN was done which does not indicate drug use.” Osborn described Silvers as exhibiting confused behavior while showing evident signs of impaired judgment.
“Alco sensors” are commonly known as breathalizers. HGN, horizantal gaze nystagmus, is a standardized field sobriety test for alcohol-induced impairment.
John Bagley, Osborn’s neighbor, agreed that Silvers was unfit to drive. “(Terry) wrecked right across from my house,” Bagley said. “He was in no shape to be driving. I think there should have been additional tests done. It could have saved his life.”
Throughout the week following Silvers’ death, FYN spoke with over a dozen individuals who relayed that Silvers was a known opioid user with a long history of accidents. Family, friends, and neighbors claimed that Silvers had been released by Towns County Sheriff’s Office on multiple occasions without facing charges.
Terra Silvers, the daugter of Terry Silvers, contacted FYN through our website. “My father, Terry Silvers, had to lose his life due to lack of effort on behalf of Towns County Sheriff’s Office…,” Silvers wrote, “It’s just not fair. They are to protect and serve, but instead they want to let those that are under the influence go. All I can say is I’m really going to miss my dad. He was a good man, respectful, and would help anyone with anything he could. He didn’t deserve this.”
Numerous, additional family members, citizens, and unaffiliated law enforcement officers relayed that Terry Silvers was known to suffer from addiction, with many adding that Silvers’ case was not an isolated incident. One citizen shared her thoughts in the comment section of a previous article published by FYN. “Sad, but there are so many more examples of the TCSO (Towns County Sheriff’s Office) being ‘easy’ on local addicts…,” the remark reads.
On Feb. 23, the evening following the Bugscuffle Road accident, Silvers was traveling west of Hiawassee on Highway 76, when a good samaritan placed a 911 call to Towns County emergency dispatch upon witnessing a white Toyota pickup truck driving recklessly. Heather Segars, a local resident, pursued whom she soon identified as Silvers. pleading for law enforcement to respond to the turned-fatal incident.
As Segars followed Silvers into the parking lot of Cornerstore BP, a gas station at the intersection of Highway 76 and Highway 17, a siren can be heard in the 911 audio, passing the distraught caller. FYN learned that Towns County Sheriff’s Office was responding to a possible prowler off Highway 75, the road that leads to Helen, GA. Two officers had arrived on scene at the residence on Clark Drive at the time the be-on-the-lookout (BOLO) was issued to Towns County Sheriff’s Office. The initial, responding officers cleared the residence, with no disturbance found.
After deliberation and close consultation with the Silvers’ family, along with conversations with the traumatized 911 caller, FYNTV.com released the Feb. 23 emergency audio to allow the public to hear the disturbing interaction firsthand. The Silvers’ family and good samaritan maintain that Towns County Sheriff’s Office could have prevented the Feb. 23 fatality. FYNTV attached a recording of a phone call between a Towns County Sheriff’s Office deputy and the 911 dispatcher that took place shortly after the deadly crash occurred, revealing the Towns County deputy chastising the dispatcher for issuing the BOLO.
FYN contacted Towns County Sheriff’s Office prior to the release of previous articles pertaining to Terry Silvers’ death, offering opportunity to issue a statement on behalf of the department. Towns County Sheriff’s Office has not responded to FYN’s request.