AURORA – An Aurora police officer who was nearly hit by a suspected drunk driver shared his story in an effort to prevent future drunk driving crashes.
Officer Kyle Stoeppel had just pulled over a driver at East 38th Avenue and Chambers Road early Saturday morning. He called for back-up.
Two other patrol cars joined him, which he says is fortunate. The suspected drunk driver crashed into the third patrol car, pushing it into the second patrol car before flipping.
“I'm incredibly thankful the third car showed up, because honestly, if that car wasn't there, I would've been killed," Stoeppel said. “As I am getting my phone, I hear a loud crash behind me. I turn around, see two patrol cars got hit, his car flipped over and was smoking.”
The officers were not in their patrol cars when they were hit. They immediately ran to get the driver of the car out. He was taken to the hospital and is facing a charge of driving under the influence.
This is not an isolated incident. In just the past few weeks, impaired drivers have crashed into patrol cars from the Denver and Lakewood police departments as well as the Colorado State Patrol.
Law enforcement said this is a good reminder to follow the move-over law as well as to not get behind the wheel after using drugs or alcohol.
“All it takes is a commitment ahead of time to not drink and drive. You'd be surprised how many people think they can have two drinks, no big deal. It still affects your ability to make good decisions behind the wheel, and it slows down your ability to make good decisions," Aurora Officer Javen Harper said.
Stoeppel said he knows his job is dangerous, but he said, “It’s still the best job in the world.”
On Twitter, Aurora police said DUI drivers are attracted to emergency vehicles "like a moth to a [flame]."AlertMe