Authorities: Distracted driver crashes into Douglas County deputy’s cruiser
WATERLOO, Neb. (WOWT) - A distracted driver slammed into a Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy Friday morning, diverting westbound traffic on West Dodge Road near 228th Street for about three hours.
According to the Waterloo Police Chief, a Douglas County deputy was parked behind a vehicle in the westbound lane when a car ran into the back of his cruiser at 7:47 a.m. Officials said a second deputy was standing by inside a marked cruiser with lights flashing.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office later reported that the deputy in the process of a traffic stop, waiting for another party to arrive and take possession of the stopped vehicle after the driver, wanted on a warrant, was transported to Douglas County Corrections. The deputy was in the Sheriff’s Office cruiser when the driver of the other vehicle crashed into the vehicle while trying to find his cell phone.
“The force of the crash pinned the doors of the patrol car shut,” the Sheriff’s Office release states.
The deputy was transported to the hospital Code 2 to UNMC and was later released, authorities said. The driver of the other vehicle refused treatment.
“We’re very fortunate it didn’t seriously injure or kill the deputy,” Douglas County Sheriff’s Capt. Matt Martin said. “We’re also very fortunate it didn’t impact other drivers in that area that might have been traveling.”
A second cruiser was also at the scene.
“As the second deputy was waiting for a licensed driver to come get the car that had been stopped,” Martin said. “A vehicle came along, a third vehicle westbound the driver took their eyes off the road for a little bit because they dropped their cell phone, and in looking for their phone, failed to keep his eyes on the road and stuck the rear passenger side of the patrol cruiser.”
The vehicles will likely be a total loss.
“We can replace patrol cars. We can replace other cars on the road. We can’t replace people, so we are very fortunate that the deputy not only wasn’t hurt, but they were able to return to duty already,” Martin said.
At 10:48 a.m. Friday, Douglas County Chief Deputy Wayne Hudson tweeted that West Dodge Road had re-opened.
The Sheriff’s Office also asked the public to remember to not use cellphones while driving, and urged drivers to pull over to retrieve dropped items; and noted that drivers should move over for stopped vehicles, and keep eyes on the road at all times.
Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately identified the county in the headline. 6 News regrets the error.
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