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Intoxicated driver crashes into Willoughby Hills police cruiser, narrowly misses officer

Willoughby Hills crash cruiser
Posted at 10:47 AM, Dec 27, 2020

WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio — A Willoughby Hills police officer was nearly struck and his cruiser was rear-ended after an intoxicated driver crashed on Interstate 271 Saturday night, according to the Willoughby Hills Police Department.

Around 11:11 p.m., Willoughby Hills police officers were assisting the Ohio State Highway Patrol with a disabled vehicle in the right lane of I-271 north near the entrance to a bridge that connects the highway to Interstate 90, police said.

Officers had their cruisers parked with emergency lights on and a large safety flare pattern in the road to alert motorists, according to police.

A 2012 Dodge Ram traveling on I-271 failed to yield to the emergency lights and the safety flares, driving through the flares and into the safety zone, striking a cruiser from behind, police said.

An officer standing near the back of the cruiser at the time of the crash was able to avoid being struck, running out of the way before impact, according to police.

The driver of the Dodge was uninjured, police said.

During the investigation, officers determined that alcohol was a contributing factor to the crash and the 41-year-old driver was arrested and charged with operating a vehicle while under the influence and failure to maintain assured clear distance.

The crash remains under investigation.