(WICHITA, Kan.) — Witnesses say a driver never even hit the brakes before slamming into a patrol car. The accident happened Wednesday night on Kellogg near West Street. A driver hit the car going at least 60 miles an hour and witnesses say the person behind the wheel was texting.
There's not much left of the patrol car Officer Eric Little drove while on duty. "I was very glad I was not in that car," Officer Little said. He was relieved because he knew the accident was going to happen as he assisted a stranded motorist. "Once I saw it coming and saw it was not changing lanes to move out of the path, I knew it was going to hit. It was very loud," he said. The patrol car was pushed more than 100 feet on impact.
Witnesses say the driver was texting. After talking with other drivers, Eyewitness News found that driver isn't the only one. "I do sometimes, occassionally not going to lie," said driver Michael Nielson. Another drive Colt Rives says he texts a lot driving back and fourth for work. They both know it's dangerous. "They say it's worse than drunk driving, texting and driving because half the time you're looking down and it's not very good," Rives said.
Officer Little says anytime he or another officer stand on the side of a road, they worry. He hopes this accident shows drivers they have to pay attention behind the wheel. "It's probably going to scare me, but I don't know if I'm going to stop," Rives said. The accident didn't stop Officer Little. He has a new patrol car and will be on the lookout for those texting behind the wheel.
The driver who hit the officer received minor injuries. He was cited for careless driving. The ticket fine for texting while driving is $60. It's unclear whether the driver will receive that ticket, it's still under investigation.
Police say the main reason both Officer Little and the stranded motorist were safe is because of how Little parked his car. He parked it about 500 feet from the person he was helping. Little says they try and park as far back as possible just in case something like this happens.