Tulsa Police officer recalls terrifying accident

Thursday, February 2nd 2006, 10:23 am
By: News On 6

Police officers face all kinds of danger everyday. An officer in Florida was trying to write a ticket when an elderly driver veered into him. The driver's side view mirror slammed into the officer's hip.

A Broken Arrow officer was hit recently during a similar accident. Police say a driver swerved at highway speed hitting Officer John Turner in the back with a mirror.

The mirror hit Turner so hard it broke off in the process. Officer Turner wasn't seriously hurt.

News on 6 anchor Terry Hood says an accident a year ago, has one Tulsa Police officer saying he's it happened under conditions almost identical to right now. A sunny sky, mild weather, and late afternoon traffic all combined in an accident in December 2004, which almost cost Officer Mark Spraggs his life. "I stopped the car. I'd taken the drivers license from the driver, and just began issuing the citation. Got impacted from behind. I knew I was hurt, I knew I was hurt real bad, I didn't realize I was on the other side of the highway."

The driver was going 65 MPH, crossed three lanes of traffic, and never once put on the brakes.

The driver hit Officer Mark Spraggs' motorcycle, the car he had stopped, and then smashed Spraggs over the concrete median, and into oncoming traffic. He says marks on the road were left on his uniform after the car plowed into him. He had a ruptured disk, a concussion, and too many bruises to count. "I am lucky to be alive after that day."

Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers and Tulsa Police officers, who drive police cruisers, can use their cars to help shield them from an accident. Motorcycle cops don't have the extra insurance.

It took Spraggs six months of recovery to get back on a bike, a new one of course. Mechanics told him his mangled motorcycle was the worst they'd seen in 25 years.

Traffic officers say the best thing you can do, if you are being pulled over, do not pull into the inside lanes unless you absolutely have to. Instead, try to get as far to the right as possible.

No one was ever charged in Spraggs' accident. Officer Spraggs says he doesn't remember much from after the crash, just that he gave himself last rites in case he was about to die. He says getting back on a motorcycle wasn't hard, but sometimes thinking about the cars whizzing right beside him is still a little unnerving.