2 cops, civilian injured in SW Miami-Dade wrong-way crash

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities are investigating after, they said, two Miami-Dade Police officers were struck by a suspected drunk driver going the wrong way in Southwest Miami-Dade, Sunday morning, sending all three of them to the hospital.

Heavy damage could be seen on the front of both the cruiser and the other car involved in the crash. Investigators said the officers were in the cruiser when they were hit, at around 4:30 a.m., near Southwest 157th Avenue and 164th Street.

Police said the law enforcers were patrolling the neighborhood when a gray Volkswagen Jetta was traveling north in the southbound lanes of 157th Avenue, hitting the officers head-on.

The driver of the cruiser was trapped for over an hour and had to be extricated out of the vehicle. “One of the police officers who was driving was heavily trapped in his car, and it took our crews almost an hour to use the jaws of life to get him out of the car,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Capt. Jack Swerdloff.

Paramedics airlifted that victim to Ryder Trauma Center, while both the other officer and the driver of the Jetta were transported to Jackson Memorial South.

Both officers were conscious while they were being transported, and were even able to radio in and report the crash.  One of the officers was released, Monday, while the other officer remains at Jackson Memorial Hospital in stable condition.

“Thank God. They’re lucky to be alive. This is a very, very serious accident,” said Miami-Dade Police Detective Robin Pinkard.

The driver, later identified as Jovary Hill, is currently listed in stable condition.

Officials believe alcohol may have played a factor in the crash. “We do believe that the driver might have been under the influence of some type of alcohol, so that’s still part of the investigation,” said Pinkard. “We don’t have a speed right now, but we do believe that DUI might be a cause.”

It has been a dangerous couple of months for police officers on the roads of South Florida. Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Carlos Rosario was released from the hospital just over a week ago, after he was hit on the Dolphin Expressway, March 17.

Miami-Dade Police Maj. Ricky Carter was seriously injured when he slid off Interstate 75 on his personal motorcycle, May 7. He was on the way to a charity ride.

“When we get a call like this, it certainly is a little shocking when we arrive and we see that it is a police vehicle involved,” said Swerdloff. “The guys may be amped up a little bit more when they see that it is one of our brothers in battle, so to speak.”

The officers involved in Sunday’s crash have been with Miami-Dade Police for about a year. The director of the department tweeted that the entire agency is praying for them.

Police blocked off Southwest 157th Avenue between 164th and 163rd Streets while they conducted their investigation.

Tow trucks arrived around 8 a.m. to remove both vehicles from the scene.

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