GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The driver who hit a Grand Rapids Police Department cruiser head-on Thursday night may have been drinking, police say.
The crash happened around 9:30 p.m. on Eastern Avenue SE near Griggs Street.
A 32-year-old officer who had been with the department for three years was behind the wheel.
“He wasn’t responding to a call. He wasn’t in pursuit. He was simply just driving,” GRPD Chief Eric Winstrom said.
Dashboard camera released by GRPD on Friday shows the other vehicle, a Toyota Camry, was at fault: It was southbound in the northbound lane. The video shows an SUV in front of the cruiser swerve out of the way of the Camry, at which point it hit the front of the cruiser.
“(The Camry was) traveling very fast without its headlights on directly at the officer,” Winstrom said. “So a very frightening situation.”
It was a serious collision.
“I obviously never want to see one of my police officers in an accident, but if that vehicle was occupied by an elderly individual, a child (or) someone who wasn’t properly restrained, that accident could have ended in a much more tragic way,” Winstrom said. “That’s how hard this officer was hit.”
The officer was taken to the hospital. He had been released as of Friday but faces a long recovery, according to Winstrom.
The driver of the Camry was also taken to the hospital. His injuries are not considered life-threatening.
“Despite being injured himself, our officer immediately responded to check on the other driver,” Winstrom said in a Friday statement. “I am very proud of his actions and am thankful for the other first responders that were on scene so quickly. There could have been a much worse outcome for both drivers and other vehicles in the area.”
Police are investigating the man behind the wheel of the Camry for driving drunk. His name was not released Friday.