Fort Worth, Texas – A suspected drunken driver plowed into a police officer who was outside of a vehicle during a traffic stop. The car hit the cop, flipping the officer in mid-air. He was able to recover and arrest the driver. (Video below)
The incident happened at 3 AM July 7, and was captured on video. Fort Worth Police Officer Matthew Lesell was able to detain the driver until backup arrived. Police said Lesell was limping when officers came to his aid. He was taken to the hospital and suffered a hyperextended foot and a fractured vertebrae, KXAS-TV reported.
The driver was identified as Mike Mitchell. He was taken to jail and booked on the charge of intoxication assault, according to the Dallas Morning News. Mitchell had turned 34 just before ramming into the officer.
“Next thing I knew I was flying through the air,” Lesell told NBC-5 TV. “It felt like I was spinning through a washing machine.”
“Your body goes into trauma mode,” Lesell said. “Pain-wise, you don’t feel much. You just know something bad happened and the body does amazing things to limit the pain. All I knew was that I was hit. I kept spitting, and because it was bloody and I didn’t know where it was coming from, I knew it was bad.”
“Every time I watch [the video], I’m still surprised it was not worse,” Lesell told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “My job is going to accidents and seeing horrific events, and I’ve seen accidents that don’t look nearly that bad, but there were worse injuries. I’m lucky with how it turned out.”
Lesell said he would be out of work for a month due to the injuries. The officer also urged motorists to give police room when passing them.
“It’s not hard to change lanes, to move over and give an inch or two,” Officer Lesell said. “It’s not hard for someone to take their foot off the gas and move over.”
Fort Wayne Police Spokesman Jimmy Pollozani said the department was lucky that the car hit the parked vehicle first and not Lesell.
“If the suspect didn’t hit the other car first, we would have been planning for a funeral instead,” Pollozani said.
Watch Officer Matthew Lesell get hit below. WARNING - Graphic: