Tulsa Police Motorcycle Officer Injured In Traffic Accident

Wednesday, August 16th 2006, 11:04 am
By: News On 6

A Tulsa Police motorcycle officer had a close call Wednesday when the driver the officer was trying to pull over slammed on his brakes. The officer hit the back of the car, then went skidding.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright looks at why driving can be more dangerous for police officers than gunfights.

Driving is more dangerous, because officers do it for 8 to 10 hours every day, but might only encounter a gun battle a few times in a career.

In 1999 and 2003, more officers died in car crashes than from guns, which is why citizens need to be careful when sharing the road with police. Tulsa Police Corporal Ron Clark has some road rash and possibly a concussion, but it could've been much worse, had it not been for his helmet. Police say he tried to pull over a driver who didn't want to cooperate.

Tulsa Police Officer Jason Willingham: "When the motorcycle officer got close up behind the vehicle, apparently, the suspect slammed on his brakes and caused the motorcycle to go up under the vehicle."

The number of officers dying in car crashes has been on the rise across the nation the past 20 years. That's why some agencies say more officers can save their lives by wearing a seatbelt than a bullet proof vest. Tulsa Police officer Craig Murray: "A lot of times, when we turn on the red lights or sirens, people stop right there, that's not safe for them, us or the motoring public."

Many officers are hurt or killed while pulled over on the side of the road writing a ticket or giving assistance. That's why Oklahoma passed a law last year that says when an officer is on the side of the road, drivers have to get over at least one lane and if they can't do that, they must slow down. Keeping their eyes straight ahead would help too. Officer Craig Murray: "Rubbernecking, people tend to drive where they're looking and it causes even more crashes that we don't want to deal with."

Tulsa Police are thankful Wednesday crash wasn't worse than it was, as is the officer's family.

The Tulsa Police Department is one of a few departments that requires every single officer to go through driving training every two years, rather than just once when they're a rookie.

Officers are still looking for the light blue Lincoln 4-door with Montana plates that caused Wednesday's accident and then took off.