Temple Police Officer Escapes Serious Injury In I-35 Crash

By: Ben Griffin Email
By: Ben Griffin Email
A police officer who was on a construction zone safety assignment on Interstate 35 escaped serious injury when an SUV plowed into the rear of his parked patrol vehicle, authorities said Thursday.

(Photo by Ben Griffin)

TEMPLE (July 24, 2014) Temple police Officer Billy Burch was treated for minor injuries at Baylor Scott & White Hospital and was later released after an SUV plowed into his parked patrol vehicle as he worked a construction zone safety assignment on Interstate 35.

The driver of the SUV was also taken to Scott & White after the crash Wednesday night.

Police did not release his name or information about his condition Thursday morning.

Burch was assisting construction crews place traffic cones on Interstate 35 from Salado to Troy when the SUV whose driver either didn't see or disregarded the cones slammed into the rear of his parked patrol vehicle.

He was released from the hospital at around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, police said Thursday.

Burch was the third Temple officer to be hurt in a traffic crash this month.

On July 14 Officer Carmen DeCruz, a three-year veteran of the department, was injured in a collision while on the way to assist in a pursuit after a burglary.

He was headed south on General Bruce Drive, approaching the intersection with S.W. HK Dodgen Loop with his patrol vehicle's emergency lights and siren on when a westbound Volkswagen passenger car entered the intersection.

DeCruz was unable to avoid the car and the two vehicles collided in the intersection.

DeCruz was treated at Scott & White and was later released.

The two people riding in the VW received non-life-threatening injuries.

On July 3 Temple motorcycle Officer William Pettyjohn, 45, was injured when he was struck by an out-of-control car during a traffic stop on I-35 and was thrown about 20 feet, police said.

Investigators determined that a northbound Chrysler sedan collided with a northbound Dodge pickup truck as the car's driver moved from the right lane into the center lane.

The collision caused the drivers to lose control of the vehicles, both of which began to skid.

The pickup struck Pettyjohn's motorcycle and then rolled one or two times before coming to rest in the median while the Chrysler slid northbound in the right traffic lane and struck the officer, who was thrown about 20 feet and landed near the front left side of the vehicle he pulled over, Wilcox said.

Pettyjohn, the driver of the pickup and a passenger were taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the Chrysler and the driver whom Pettyjohn pulled over escaped injury.


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