POLK COUNTY, FL. – A Lake Wales Police officer and several citizens narrowly escaped serious injury Tuesday night when a distracted driver plowed into the rear of a patrol car.
At approximately 8:57 pm Tuesday night, Officer Jacob Raines stopped to assist a stranded motorist whose car was stuck in a ditch along Highway 27 south of Thompson Nursery Rd.
Officer Raines was blocking part of the roadway with his emergency lights activated as he and others worked to get the vehicle out of the ditch.
Officer Raines observed a vehicle traveling northbound in the outside lane that did not appear to be slowing or moving over to go around his patrol car.
He attempted to warn the driver by waving his flashlight to no avail, as they collided with his patrol car. The patrol car spun around in the road while the momentum of the other vehicle made it continue traveling forward, striking a
2003 Ford Mustang, knocking one man to the ground and striking a juvenile in the hand. The cars struck other bystanders as well but they did not sustain any injuries.
Moments before the crash, Officer Raines had been standing in front of his patrol car and his body worn camera captured the crash on video. Chief Chris Velasquez said, “Had Officer Raines still been in front of his patrol car at the time of the crash this story would have ended much differently.” He went on to say, “This was an avoidable crash caused by distracted driving and not moving over when emergency vehicles were present.”
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office assisted by conducting the crash investigation (PCSO210050107). They cited Jose Antonio Cuevas of Fort Myers with Careless Driving and Texting While Driving (1st Offense). The crash totaled the police vehicle.
Check out Tampafp.com for Politics, Tampa Local News, Sports, and National Headlines. Support journalism by clicking here to our GoFundMe or sign up for our free newsletter by clicking here. Android Users, Click Here To Download The Free Press App And Never Miss A Story. It’s Free And Coming To Apple Users Soon.