Local News

Semi-truck strikes Durham police car on I-85

Posted July 25, 2012

— A Durham police officer was seriously injured Wednesday when a tractor-trailer plowed into her patrol car on Interstate 85 in Durham, police said.

The officer was conducting a traffic stop near the Cole Mill Road exit around 4 p.m. when she was rear-ended, causing her car to spin and clip the vehicle she had pulled over.

She was taken to Duke University Hospital, where she was listed in critical condition Wednesday evening. The officer's name has not been released.

The truck driver and the driver of the stopped vehicle were also hospitalized, but their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening, police said.

Witness Amanda Chavez said the tractor-trailer was swerving before it hit the patrol car.

Durham police officer injured in tractor-trailer crash Durham police officer injured in tractor-trailer crash

"She was getting ready to get out and the 18-wheeler was swerving, and he hit her and spun her," she said. "When I got over to the cop car, she was laid over. She wasn't conscious."

About five minutes later, Chavez said, the officer opened her eyes but seemed disoriented.

Chavez described the crash scene as "the worst thing I have seen in my life."

Police released no details about what may have caused the crash or whether the truck driver will be charged.

All southbound lanes of the highway were closed for several hours while authorities conducted their investigation at the scene, which caused major traffic delays in the area.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Pepe Silvia Jul 26, 2012

    "Move Over or Slow Down! It's the law." - Unknown Caller

    This needs to be repeated again and again. Cop cars and other emergency vehicles have big flashing lights - if you are actually paying attention while you drive, there is almost no excuse for not seeing them. MOVE OVER.

  • pubw Jul 26, 2012

    All I know is the cop is lucky to be alive by the looks of that car. Cant we all breate a sigh of releif that everyone is alive and will recover? As RK says... Cant we all just get along? We.can point fingers when they figure out what happened...

  • awr117 Jul 26, 2012

    "Witness Amanda Chavez said the tractor-trailer was swerving before it hit the patrol car."

    That tells me the truck driver was under heavy braking. Was the patrol car blocking the lane?

  • BernsteinIII Jul 26, 2012

    "City police cars should simply stay off the interstate."

    I agree. Basically, county and state troopers should be the only ones making traffic stops on interstates.

  • Taxpayingcitizen Jul 26, 2012

    My best wishes to the officer for a speedy, full recovery... Keep pulling people over whenever and wherever you have to in order to enforce the laws of NC - regardless of what some other posters believe! How a truck driver can hit a car pulled over on the shoulder and not be found at fault would be completely beyond me -

  • tran Jul 26, 2012

    Stopping on the side of the road is dangerous. There have been many collisions like this. Some have been caught on camera. The policy should be to have people exit the Interstate at the nearest off ramp and stop there.

  • cuffusion Jul 26, 2012

    Of course he is going to be charged... thats a given.. he committed several traffic violations.. it is likely he was required to provide a blood sample for analysis so there may be additional charges pending if the results indicate some type of substance which could have contributed to this incident (both legal and illegal).... The only way that he may avoid all charges is if some fault or defect in his truck caused him to lose control..

  • beach2011 Jul 26, 2012

    dwarner3 you need to rethink that statement.

  • jdixon2 Jul 26, 2012

    Nancy -- Really, RPD was freaking out drivers in Durham? How did that happen?

    There is a Move Over Law, trucker should be charged with that, at least. Hope they did a BAC on him.

    The officer did not cause major traffic backup during rush hour. The semi driver was the cause of the accident. He couldn't maintain lane control, ran off the road, and HIT something on the shoulder. That's the cause, not DPD.

    I hope the DPD officer recovers and is able to get back on the streets.

  • Comfortably Numb Jul 26, 2012

    WOW! Maybe I missed something?! DUI? Because he was swerving? Have you ever tried to slow down fast with all that weight? Semi's seem to always be the blame if one is involved in the accident.