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Police: Rocky Mount officer hit by drunk driver

Officer Jill Tyson-Johnson was trying to make an arrest near 2045 Woodruff Road Thursday night when a car hit her and then her cruiser, police said.

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — A Rocky Mount police officer arresting one man on charges of driving while impaired was hit by a car driven by another man who police say was drunk.

Police said Officer Jill Tyson-Johnson, 33, had pulled over Paul Walter Schafer at 2045 Woodruff Road on suspicion of DWI and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

While she and another officer were searching Schafer on the side of the road, a car driven by Charles Shurbutt, 47, of 701 Colony Square, struck Tyson-Johnson and her vehicle, the department said in a statement Friday.

Police said the incident happened about 8:45 p.m. It happened about a mile from where Officer Alan Silver was killed in a crash 18 months ago while answering a call.

Investigators said that Shurbutt drove away from the scene, but rear-ended a vehicle driven by George Thomas Davis, of Scotland Neck, near Benvenue Road and Winterberry Drive. The second wreck occurred about 2 miles from the first.

Shurbutt also fled that scene, but his vehicle had become disabled from the two wrecks, officers said. State troopers and police officers arrested him without incident at Benvenue and Bridgewood roads.

Tyson-Johnson was treated at Nash Health Care Center for non-life-threatening injuries and released.

Police said they took Shurbutt took the Nash County Jail and began processing him on DWI charges. However, due to his high blood-alcohol content, they had to involuntarily commit him to Nash Health Care Systems, officers said.

Shurbutt remained in the hospital Friday morning.

No one else was injured in the wrecks.

Police obtained warrants against Shurbutt for felony serious injury by vehicle, felony hit-and-run and failing to stop for an injury, DWI and misdemeanor hit-and-run and failure to stop for property damage.

Officers planned to serve the warrants when Shurbutt is released from the hospital, they said.

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Adam Owens, Reporter
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