NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Metro officer is recovering from head and neck injuries after a hit and run crash this weekend.
South Precinct Officer Kristopher Sharpe’s patrol car was struck by a silver Volvo on I-24 on Saturday. According to police, everyone inside the vehicle fled from the scene.
Sharpe is the third Metro officer hit in the last six months.
Last November, officer Jennifer Gladson was hit while deploying spike strips on Cowan Street. In February, Officer Samuel Sundra was hit on I-440 in West Nashville.
“We sign up to serve and we want to do good for the public. But these close calls, it’s very scary, it’s very dangerous,” MNPD South Precinct Commander Keith Stephens said. “Having seen officers that were struck by motor vehicles that were moving, it’s a situation that can easily be avoided just by paying attention to what you’re doing when you’re behind the wheel.”
For some, these incidents hit close to home. Lieutenant Ken Miller is back to fighting crime in Cheatham County after he was hit on the side of the road in 2019 while deploying spike strips.
Despite coming face to face with violence on a regular basis, Lt. Miller said officers are often confronted with danger on roadways.
“One of the biggest risks we run in law enforcement and one of the biggest causes of death for law enforcement officers [is] traffic crashes,” Miller said.
Miller was setting up spike strips to stop a driver who had stolen a patrol car from Montgomery County.
“From the point of impact from when he struck me, I flew about 15 to 20 feet, knocked the stuff out of my pockets, found my glasses off my face, then at that point I was just kind of rolling on the ground for a minute before I was able to get back to my knees,” Miller recalled.
Despite several broken ribs and back and shoulder injuries, he considers himself lucky.
Following Officer Sharpe’s hit-and-run, Miller is begging drivers to move over and slow down when they pass any vehicle on the side of the road with its lights on.
“You’re talking a heavy-duty truck with the back-end almost caved in. Can you imagine what that would be to a human body?” Lt. Miller said. “I mean have you ever hit your finger with a hammer? You know how bad that hurts. Multiply that by a thousand,” Miller said.
As law enforcement puts their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, Miller asks drivers to watch out for them on public roadways.
“Just pay attention and slow down, please, especially if you see an officer or a tow truck driver or construction worker on the side of the road. It’s dangerous enough being out there, but it’s even more dangerous if you’re not being attentive to what you’re doing and what they’re doing.”
As of the end of March, Tennessee had seen at least 36 crashes related to people not moving over or slowing down. THP had also written nearly 200 move-over citations.