DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A total of 58 police officers in the United States died last year as a result of traffic crashes.
Sadly, it almost happened again last week in Dickson County.
News 2 has obtained dramatic body and dash camera from Dickson County Sheriff’s Office deputies who had a hair-raising few moments during the early morning hours on Friday, May 19.
Just after midnight on Interstate 40 West at mile marker 181, deputies out assisting the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) on a prior crash saw an alleged drunk driver plow into the rear of a patrol cruiser.
According to the THP, the emergency lights were activated when the collision happened.
The dash camera footage showed the jarring impact: the crash spun the squad car about 180 degrees, shredding the metal highway fence.
Thankfully, the deputy was not in his car at the time of the collision and was not injured.
“Be advised someone just struck my patrol vehicle,” the deputy radioed to dispatch.
“Had he been in there, he would have been seriously injured as well,” added Lt. Jennifer Caruthers of the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Caruthers, the veteran deputy was out of his car by design, knowing that stretch of I-40 and how dangerous it can be.
“In the past year, we have had 5 vehicles hit on the interstate,” Caruthers said, adding the deputy had been hit out there before, in another squad car. “All three deputies out there to help THP got out of their vehicles and got over the guard rail and was standing as far away from traffic trying to slow people down as possible.”
Body camera and investigative photos showed the highway littered with car parts.
You can see the deputies attend to the other driver who was driving a 2017 Nissan Rogue. That driver has been identified as 24-year-old Jarret Wilson.
According to the THP, Wilson didn’t slow down or move over, and the report indicates he was driving under the influence.
“He could have died; he has serious injuries. He could have killed himself and other people by driving under the influence,” Caruthers said. “(Our deputy) was very glad he was not in his vehicle when this happened, and he said, ‘I have been out there enough to know not to stay in my car.’ There’s a good chance on I-40 you will get hit, or there’s a good chance they will drive by and at least knock a mirror off.”
According to THP records, Wilson has been charged with DUI (third offense), reckless endangerment, and driving on a suspended license.
Investigators said Wilson is still in the hospital. Both cars were totaled.