Houston, TX - Houston Police Officer Roshad Carter and Officer Carlos Herrera jumped over a highway barrier and fell 16 feet to avoid a speeding car being driven by a drunk driver on Friday morning.
The incident occurred about 2:55 AM while Officer Carter and Officer Herrera had observed and were investigating a traffic crash on the Newcastle exit ramp from U.S. 59, the Southwest Freeway, according to The Houston Chronicle. They used their cruiser to block the exit ramp.
Despite the cruiser blocking the exit ramp, Bianca Bennett, age 25, drove her black Ford Focus onto the ramp, went around the cruiser, and then struck the vehicle that was involved in the first crash. Bennett's car swerved toward Officer Carter and struck him in the leg.
Officer Carter then jumped over the concrete barrier and onto an access road below to avoid being struck again by Bennett's vehicle. His partner, Officer Herrera also jumped over the concrete barrier to avoid being struck by Bennett's speeding vehicle. Kese Smith, spokesman for the Houston Police Department, said that Bennett's car was going approximately 75 mph at one point.
HPD Sergeant Thomas Fendia said "You've got essentially a 3,000-, 4,000-, 10,000-pound weapon coming straight at these officers. There's absolutely nothing they can do ... it's a scary situation. It really is."
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said that he will be "cracking down on drunk driving within the city," and noted that the state of Texas leads the nation in the number of drunk driving deaths. Chief Acevedo said, "We need to make examples of these people. Because there is absolutely no reason why someone should get behind the wheel after drinking."
Both Officer Carter and Officer Herrera were transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Officer Carter remains hospitalized, but is expected to be released sometime over the weekend.
Officer Herrera was treated and released. Both officers are assigned to the HPD's DWI Task Force. Officer Carter is a seven-year veteran of the agency, and Officer Herrera is a four-year veteran.
Sergeant Thomas Fendia of the Houston Police Department said that, "Firefighters luckily were on scene. They were able to render first aid immediately." Sergeant Fendia also said that firefighters saw Bennett's car coming, and yelled at the officers to get out of the way.
Police said that Bennett "smelled of alcohol." She was arrested without incident at the scene, and was charged with intoxication assault. Bennett remains in jail under $50,000 bond.