COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Columbus police officer is expected to be OK after his cruiser was hit by a suspected drunk driver at an overnight crash scene Monday.
The investigation coincides with the start of Crash Responders Awareness Week.
First responders want it to be second nature when you’re behind the wheel. Any time you see the flashing lights or emergency vehicles, you should slow down, move over, and give those crews space to work.
“We usually have the lights up there and it’s usually pretty well marked, so if it does happen, we’re probably looking at an impaired driver,” said Sgt. Adam Barton with the Columbus Division of Police traffic bureau.
Both the driver and an officer inside a police cruiser at the time suffered minor injuries in Monday’s crash. A passenger in the suspect’s vehicle was more seriously injured but is expected to recover.
Barton said crashes like this and close calls are far too common.
“Being on the side of the road with cars going by at 65, 70 miles per hour, yeah that can be pretty scary, so please give us some room to work because we’d like to go home to our families as well,” he said.
That’s the message during Crash Responders Awareness Week.
The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) said firefighters are killed almost weekly across the nation while responding to crashes.
“One of the things that’s unique about these traffic accidents is that these are scenes where the public is in a position to help us and help keep us safe,” said Steven Stein, president of the Columbus IAFF Local 67.
First responders are urging everyone to avoid distractions, drive sober and keep everyone’s safety in mind.
“Our goal is to keep everyone safe, take care of the patients that are already injured as quickly as possible, and get the roadway clear as fast as we safely can,” Stein said.
Columbus police said driving through a scene can be a costly penalty. If a driver is impaired and causes serious injury to anyone, they could be charged with a third-degree felony and face up to 10 years in prison.