COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Newly released video shows a Sunday night crash on a Columbus highway that left an officer hospitalized.
NBC4 obtained traffic camera video of the incident via a public records request to the Ohio Department of Transportation. At the beginning of the video, timestamped for 9 p.m., two cars were seen parked side by side with their hoods raised in the farthest right lane of I-670 westbound. The occupants were standing outside on the highway and appeared to be trying to jump-start one of the cars.
A third car was parked behind them but drove away a few minutes later. A Columbus police car was also waiting in the farthest right lane, and Officer Hansel Henry got out and walked up to the stopped cars after driving forward.
The group assessed the cars together for two minutes before the video shows a white minivan crash into Henry’s cruiser at 9:02. The minivan pushed the police car forward, striking the other two cars parked on the highway.
Traffic behind the cars became restricted, as some cars tried to drive around the scene of the crash while others came to a halt. Around 9:03, some cars stopped in the farthest right lane, and their occupants got out to help. Other Columbus police and emergency vehicles arrived around 9:08 p.m.
Henry was taken to Grant Medical Center in stable condition, with police saying early Monday morning he was recovering from his injuries. The driver of the vehicle that hit the officer remained on the scene and is cooperating with investigators, police said.
Columbus Division of Police Commander Duane Mabry said so far, the investigation points to the driver of the minivan being distracted and looking away from the road. He said it is a terrifying example of why people need to pay attention while driving and how dangerous the highways can be.
“He was in the middle of telling them, ‘Hey, this is dangerous out here, I just want to get you someplace safe. Let’s get you off the side of the road,'” Mabry said. “He was making arrangements on how to make that happen, and he said the next thing he knew, he was waking up while laying on the side of the road, so we’re really lucky he’s alive today.”
The crash remains under investigation, with Mabry saying the investigation will determine if the driver of the minivan is cited or charged.