COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The Columbus Division of Police is investigating two likely unrelated incidents in which a cruiser and an officer were struck by cars within five minutes and three miles of each other.
“It highlights the dangers that law enforcement officers face every day. We often think about injury by gunfire or apprehending a suspect. Sometimes just being in the area of an incident like this can result in an injury, right?” said Pete Cassucio, an executive board member with the local Fraternal Order of Police.
Two officers in a marked cruiser were driving eastbound on East Fifth Avenue near Interstate 670 when a silver Hyundai sedan ran a red light and struck the cruiser, according to Columbus police.
The Hyundai fled on East Fifth Avenue toward Stelzer Road, and officers were unable to locate it — and as of Thursday afternoon, police are still looking for the driver.
Five minutes later, police responded to the 1300 block of Coburg Road on reports of a disturbance involving two vehicles and a group of juveniles. On arrival, officers witnessed a vehicle traveling on Seabrook Avenue without its headlights on.
They attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver fled down a dead-end street and stopped in the 1300 block of Picard Road. Two officers exited the cruiser, with one chasing after the passenger, who attempted to run away. The passenger, a 14-year-old boy, was arrested.
The driver tried to pull away and struck the other officer, who had exited the cruiser. The car was found near Picard Road and Seabrook Avenue, but the driver was not found.
The officer was taken to Grant Medical Center and was in stable condition. The two officers whose cruiser was struck on East Fifth Avenue were treated for minor injuries at Ohio State East Hospital.
Raymond Walker lives nearby and described the incident as chaotic.
“It was about 20 police out here, cars everywhere, shining lights. We didn’t know what was happening,” Walker said.
Columbus Division of Police Commander Shaun Dillon said some people believe that juveniles are “just going to get away with it.”
“That’s just not the case. We will pursue them. We will charge them with appropriate crimes, and we’ll investigate these until we identify the offenders involved,” Dillion said.