From the Aberdeen Police Department
Two Aberdeen officers narrowly escaped injury last night when their patrol car was struck by a drunk driver.
Corporal James Bodine and Sergeant Timothy Helf were on the shoulder of Rt 40 near Rt 7 conducting a traffic stop around 10:51 p.m. Sgt. Helf was seated in the front passenger seat and Cpl. Bodine was getting back into the driver’s seat when their patrol car was side swiped by a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Cpl Bodine was luckily able to avoid injury by jumping up and standing on the rocker panel of the car.
The Jeep was driven by 55-year-old Ralph Green of Magness Ct in Belcamp. Green stopped after striking the patrol car and was arrested and charged with DUI/DWI related offenses, Reckless Driving and Negligent Driving.
Green was also charged under the Maryland Transportation Code that states that drivers must make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to an emergency vehicle that is stopped.
If drivers are unable to safely lane change, they must slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular traffic conditions. This law was enacted to provide an extra barrier of safety for police who are working alongside the roadway and was in response to increasing roadside fatalities in the line of duty.
This incident highlights the danger that drunk drivers not only place themselves in, but everyone on the road. According to NHTSA, an average of 30 people die in drunk driving related crashes every day. That is one person every 48 minutes.