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Montville Township police officer hit by car during traffic stop, urges drivers to move over

Sgt. Brett Harrison suffers dislocated toes and bruises
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Posted at 7:16 PM, Aug 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-16 08:51:31-04

MONTVILLE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Montville Township Sgt. Brett Harrison may need a few weeks off the job after he was hit by a car while assisting at a traffic stop Friday night.

Harrison, who suffered bruises and two dislocated toes, said the frightening incident is another reminder for drivers to move over.

"I'm very lucky to be alive. Until you're in that situation, it's cliche, but when it happens, it's no longer cliche. You feel lucky to be alive," Harrison said.

The accident was caught on body-worn and dash cameras. While the video is disturbing to watch, Harrison wants people to watch it as a learning lesson.

"It's hard. Every time I watch it when I get hit, I flinch, because it's just bringing back that memory of getting hit. It's hard to watch seeing what happened and how bad it could have been," Harrison said.

Ohio's Move Over Law requires motorists to cautiously shift over one lane or slow down if it's not possible to change lanes when driving by any vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road.

The accident happened around 11:15 p.m. on Wooster Pike near Green Ash Trail.

Another Montville Township police officer, Christian Sheers, had stopped a driver and was in the process of conducting field sobriety tests.

According to Montville Police Chief Matt Neil, Harrison stopped to assist and stood near the other officer's cruiser on Wooster Pike. Harrison explained why he chose to stay in the road.

"In case they stumble and fall, or if they can't stand up on their own, I don't want them to fall out into the road, so I am kind of a barrier between them and oncoming traffic," he said.

Video shows a couple of drivers move over for Harrision, but a short time later, a woman heading northbound on Wooster Pike hit the officer from behind, spinning him around and knocking him to the ground.

"When I'm laying on the side of the road, I thought to myself, hopefully I'm not injured enough that I'm going to die. I said, 'I've got a lot going on. I have kids. I have a wife.' It was tough emotionally and still is," he said.

Harrison, 44, was taken to Cleveland Clinic Medina Hospital where he was treated and released. He said the most painful part of the experience was when a doctor put the two dislocated toes back in place.

Looking back at the video, Harrison realized he turned just before impact, which he believes may have prevented more serious injuries.

"When I turned, it helped my body just roll with the car. I wasn't planted firmly on the ground, which is good. I think that helped alleviate some of those injuries. I ended up with no broken bones somehow," he said.

No charges have been filed. The Ohio State Patrol is investigating the accident. Harrison said he holds no ill will towards the driver.

"It was an accident. She wasn't aiming for me. She wasn't trying to hit me. I haven't spoken with her yet. I plan on speaking with her and just telling her that I'm okay," he said.

Harrison, who said the accident happened on his eight-year anniversary of becoming a sergeant, will return to the job when he feels recovered.

"When my body feels like it can do the job again in a safe way— and no hesitations— because I love what I do, so I'm ready to get back out there and keep doing it," he said.