SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) – A Spring Hill motorcycle officer is on the mend after crashing his police motorcycle on Tuesday.
Officer John Smith Jr. told News 2 he still has a long road to recovery, but he has a lot to be thankful for on this Good Friday.
The crash happened Tuesday afternoon at around 2:47 p.m. on Highway 31 at Denning Lane.
The veteran police officer of 23 years, 19 with Spring Hill, told News 2 he was driving north on highway 31, getting up to highway speed.
Body camera footage from 41-year-old officer shows him driving close to the edge of the highway. At one point, his front tire got loose and the officer laid the police motorcycle down. The motorcycle officer of seven years said the next few moments were frightening as he rolled across the asphalt, trying to stay clear of his out of control cycle and oncoming traffic.
“I don’t remember hitting anything. It’s like the front end just came out from under it,” Smith said.
Smith told News 2 they teach officers to ride the motorcycle to the ground in class, but once you hit the ground to get away from the machine because it can inflict more damage to you.
Smith said he knew his wrist was badly injured when he came to a stop. It turns out it was fractured in five places and will require surgery. Smith said his ankle was also broken.
Officer Smith said almost as soon as he came to rest, motorists and citizens were stopping to help him.
“Once I stopped, I was trying to make my way out of the road, and I heard voices telling me not to move. It was every day citizens driving down the road. There was so many of them, I could not count them all,” he said.
The officer said he was dazed, but never lost consciousness.
According to Smith, his radio was twisted around him, and he needed to call his fellow officers to let them know he was hurt, but alive. He told News 2 he wants to thank the many motorists who stopped, especially one man in particular. Smith said the man is deaf and unable to speak, but knew what Smith needed and helped him get his radio operational.
“He kept pointing to my radio. I asked him to help me out. The radio was on my back. We got it turned on and called dispatch to let them know there was a crash with injuries with a motorcycle. My guys got back to me. Are you involved? I told them I was. It sets up panic when anything happens with an officer. It is a family. We spend as much time with each other as our own families, and it is good for them to hear that you are talking, awake and oriented,” Smith said.
His community and friends have been great, bringing food to the house, calling and texting to see what the family needs.
Smith’s wife is a nurse and he smiles when he says his wife has been taking care of him.
Smith’s children are 14 and five. He said his 5-year-old son said a prayer for him before bedtime.
On this Good Friday, the veteran cop told News 2 he felt the Lord was looking out for him on that fateful day.
“He was. I think He’s with me every day. Even my 5-year-old says before he went to bed, ‘Mommy, let’s say a prayer for daddy.'”
Officer Smith said he will have surgery on his fractured wrist next week and his broken ankle will heal on it’s own.
He’s determined to get back on a police motorcycle and back to work as soon as he can.
Officer Smith said motorcycle officers are a family within a police family. He said he’s heard from “moto-cops” all over the country checking on his welfare.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated the crash.
The crash report says Officer Smith was driving his motorcycle north on U.S. Highway 31 near Denning Lane, where he then drove off the road and lost control.