An 18-wheeler crashed into an already wrecked vehicle roughly a foot away from a sheriff’s deputy who was responding to the incident on Tuesday, March 23rd. The shocking video showing the near-miss was shared on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page to raise awareness of emergency responder traffic deaths.
A Wharton County Sheriff’s Deputy was incredibly lucky Tuesday morning when an 18-wheeler smashed into a guardrail within arms reach of where he was standing. The officer was responding to a single-vehicle incident on Highway 59, just north of Highway 71, when the second collision occurred.
Road conditions on the highway seemed slick, but the cause of the initial crash is unknown at this time. The vehicle involved, a black sedan, appears to have suffered major damage, but the driver wasn’t injured in the event.
A dash-cam video shows Cpl. Jeff Fiala walking towards the wrecked vehicle when the massive truck slides into view, slamming into the guardrail next to him with considerable force. Fiala can be seen jumping back in shock just after the truck barreled past him.
The Wharton County Sheriff’s Office shared the footage on Facebook with a reminder to citizens to be cautious around emergency vehicles.
“Yet another reason to slow down when you see emergency lights,” the post reads. “Very close call this morning for Corporal Fiala and the driver of this vehicle. Highway 59 northbound, just north of Highway 71.”
Car Crashes, COVID-19, and a Surge in Police Officer Deaths
Due to their line of work, many police officers are involved in car crashes every year. In fact, between 2006 and 2019, car accidents were the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths amongst police officers. Unfortunately, in 2020, COVID-19 caused a massive surge in police deaths, taking its spot as the number one line-of-duty killer.
According to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, line-of-duty police officer deaths surged by 96% in 2020. Amongst causes of death for police, the category which includes COVID deaths, “Other,” saw an increase of 300% over the previous year. Overall, 2020 saw more police officer deaths than any year since 1974.
The COVID-19 police deaths are even more striking when you take into consideration that amongst police officers, both firearm deaths and traffic-related deaths decreased in 2020.
Texas saw the highest number of police officer line-of-duty deaths by far in 2020. 48 Texas police officers died last year, more than twice the number killed in the next highest state, New York with 19 police fatalities.
Tragically, the Fund reports that, on average, each deceased officer left behind two children.
This data underlines the importance of doing your part to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. It also shows the importance of taking care when driving near emergency vehicles.
Take a look at our guide on sharing the road with emergency vehicles; download and share it with your loved ones to help them stay safe.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Texas, contact the Houston car accident attorneys of Lapeze & Johns today for guidance.