Driver may have been drowsy in Chesterfield Police crash - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Driver may have been drowsy in Chesterfield Police crash

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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

A Chesterfield police officer is recovering after investigators say a drowsy driver plowed into his cruiser.

The policeman was conducting a routine traffic stop off Hull Street Road, in the Moseley area, late Tuesday afternoon during rush hour.

"There's no indication of any breaking. There's no skid marks," said Chesterfield Police Lieutenant John Miller. "It was a full impact. So at this point, we think the driver may have been asleep, or falling asleep or groggy."

The officer has since been released from the hospital, but has back and neck pain. Police say he'll need more testing Wednesday. The driver of the car which struck the cruiser suffered non-life threatening injuries. Police have not said if any charges have been filed, yet.

Investigators say the officer pulled over a woman driving a Jeep for a traffic infraction. Moments later at about 4:30 p.m., a Nissan sedan smashed into the rear of the cruiser.

Robert Wyrick watched the scary collision from the opposite side of the highway.

"The very next instant, the car coming behind (the officer) plowed into the police car. It lifted the rear end of [the driver's] car off the ground and rotated it about 180 degrees, the way it is now," described Wyrick.

Wyrick called police and ran to help everyone involved. Neighbor Joseph Orcutt, 18, also rushed to the accident when he heard the crash from inside his home.

"I heard a big bang, and I came outside running," explained Orcutt. "I came down, ran and asked the cop if he was alright. He said, ‘Yeah, but my back is hurting.'"

The Nissan's airbags inflated. Police say the driver's face was badly injured.

"He was just holding his face and blood was everywhere," continued Orcutt.

Both the officer and the driver were rushed to the hospital. The woman driving the jeep left the scene unharmed. It's a scenario that could have been much worse.

The shoulder on that stretch of Hull Street Road is very narrow. There's little room for error, let alone a full-on crash. Officers say the driver of the Nissan hit the police patrol car without even slowing down.

It's a scary reminder not to drive when you're tired. It's also the law to move over to a different lane anytime an officer's vehicle is on the side of the road. Police say it's not uncommon for officers to ask drivers whom they're pulling over to drive to a safer location.

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