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Distracted driver crashes into MJPD patrol SUV

Photo courtesy of MJPD

Four officers, investigating a three-car crash involving an impaired driver on Interstate 40, avoided tragedy within moments of a patrol SUV being struck by a distracted driver. An adult male, suspected of impairment and detained in the back seat of the patrol SUV, was injured.

Officers arrived on I-40 East near the 228 mile-marker to investigate a three-car crash around 5 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3. While investigating the three-car crash, an adult male was found to be driving on a revoked driver’s license and suspected of impairment. He was detained and placed in the back seat of a patrol SUV.

Officers continued to investigate the crash. Around 5:50 a.m., a driver failed to see the multiple patrol vehicles and struck one of the patrol SUVs, launching it within feet of officers and another patrol vehicle. Officers immediately began to render aid to the injured suspect and checked on the distracted driver. No officers were injured.

“Motorists must always pay attention while driving. There are many distractions to a driver, but eyes must have a focus on the road ahead,” said Chief James Hambrick. “Our prayers will be with the injured suspect, and we hope he recovers quickly.”

Per department protocol, a third-party law enforcement agency is always called to investigate any crash involving a department police vehicle. The Tennessee Highway Patrol responded to the scene, and Troopers are handling the crash investigation.

According to a preliminary report released by THP, the suspected impaired driver was Hiram L. Drake, 59, of Nashville. He was transported by medics to TriStar Skyline Medical Center to treat injuries sustained in the crash.

The distracted driver was Joseph S. Taylor, 43, of Lebanon. He was taken to Summit Hospital by family members to treat suspected minor injuries. Taylor was charged with failure to yield to an emergency vehicle.

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