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Apr-30-2009 12:33printcomments

Salem Officer Uninjured After Pursuit Suspect Rolls Over Patrol Car

His car was smashed to the doorline, but it just wasn't Salem Police Corporal Joe Johnson's day to check out.

Wrecked Salem, Oregon Police car 4-30-09
Photos courtesy: Salem Police

(SALEM, Ore.) - A Salem Police Officer was uninjured after a suspect who was being pursued glanced off of a concrete barrier then rolled his pickup truck over the officer's patrol car.

Lt. Dave Okada with Salem Police says the incident began at about 1:35 a.m. this morning when Sgt Jeff Waite saw a white Ford pickup being operated in an erratic manner eastbound on State St from 25th St SE.

"As he was trying to catch up to the vehicle, it turned southbound on Airport Road then westbound on Mission Street."

Okada says Sgt Waite was just catching up to the vehicle on Mission Street and activated his overhead lights to pull it over, when it suddenly accelerated to approximately 70 mph and turned northbound on 25th Street.

At this time, Salem PD Cpl Joe Johnson says he was at 25th Street and Ferry Street preparing to deploy spike strips to assist in stopping the suspect vehicle.

"As the suspect vehicle approached Cpl Johnson's location, it drifted to the left, glancing off of a concrete barrier. The barrier caused the front end of the pickup to be raised off of the ground, putting the pickup into a sideways roll."

He says the pickup rolled up over the hood, the windshield, the roof and off the trunk of Cpl Johnson's patrol vehicle, coming to a rest on its wheels behind it.

"Cpl Johnson was inside of his vehicle at the time and had to be extricated through the driver's side window. The actual pursuit lasted for less than one minute and covered less than one mile before the suspect crashed," Okada said.

"Cpl Johnson, though shaken, was not injured. His vehicle sustained severe damage, and it is a miracle that Cpl Johnson was able to survive the crash, much less being uninjured."

It is a good day every day that a police officer's name is not added to the list of those lost in the line of duty.

Okada says the driver of the suspect vehicle, 25-year old Benjamin Rowden of Salem, was arrested for Driving Under The Influence of Intoxicants, Reckless Driving, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Criminal Mischief, Driving While Suspended and Parole Violation.

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Hi bro February 17, 2013 4:35 pm (Pacific time)

3 months and like $4000

Mike H. April 30, 2009 1:17 pm (Pacific time)

I am not very familiar with law, maybe you know more about it than me Tim. How long is this man going to serve for all of those charges? Any hefty fines?

Tim King: Mike, that's sure a hard call.  I think hefty might be an operative word for sure.  If it turns out that he had alcohol in his system, then it would be a felony DUII charge and that alone, involving a police officer, would be a lot of years potentially I would say.  Whatever happens, it will be night and day different from how it would be if that officer had died.  The suspect in that event would be locked up probably for a couple of decades.  As it is he'll probably plea part of it out, and do I would guess, something like three years, but that is pure speculation.

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