WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — For newly promoted Wyoming Department of Public Safety night sergeants Rob Meredith and Chris DeBoer, Thursday marked their first time riding together as a team.
It was a night they won’t soon forget.
Just before 2 a.m., a fellow Wyoming officer had passed a wrong-way driver speeding south in the northbound lanes of US-131. The officer called in the report and Meredith and DeBoer were tasked with alerting traffic and trying to stop the suspect. They got on northbound US-131 at 54th Street and stopped their police cruiser in the center lane.
“Take as many lanes as you can,” one of the sergeants is heard saying on dash camera video that captured what happened next.
“Collision was imminent. It was — hold on — he’s gonna hit us,” Meredith recalled.
Then, video shows the wrong-way driver smash into the police cruiser.
A Michigan Department of Transportation camera also captured the crash and shows sparks fly upon impact. The wrong-way driver was clocked at going about 85 mph before the collision.
“The speed is just shocking — how far it moves that car right back like it’s nothing,” Meredith said.
“Initial shock,” Sgt. DeBoer said of the impact. “For me, I wanted to check on Rob.”
Somehow, save for a Ford emblem-shaped bruise on DeBoer’s forearm and a few scrapes — both officers are OK.
So is the wrong-way driver — he lost a tire in the crash and slowed to a stop not long afterwards.
The Kent County Prosecutor has identified the driver as Scott Kloosterman. Investigators said he was drunk during the crash. He’s now charged with operating while intoxicated, third offense.
In fact, he had gotten off probation for a second offense of operating while intoxicated just two weeks ago.
The two sergeants who risked their lives to stop Kloosterman said their chief concern in that moment was protecting innocent drivers. Like so many who wear the badge, they said the danger that what unfolding early Friday morning is part of the job.
“That’s what we signed up for — better us to slow him down than somebody else. It’s not our intent to take an impact like that. But better us,” Meredith said.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that anybody who’s in this uniform would’ve done the same thing. Everybody would’ve done the same thing. That’s what we took an oath to do,” DeBoer added.