America’s fine law enforcement officers never get enough credit for what they are subjected to on a daily basis as they try to keep others safe.
That was evidenced again Friday in Virginia when a state trooper was dragged by a driver speeding away from a traffic stop in Henrico County, according to WRIC-TV in Richmond.
The car reached speeds of 115 mph, authorities said.
Witnesses to the horrifying event described it as a “miracle” that the trooper wasn’t killed or that other vehicles on the road didn’t become casualties of the wild scene.
Virginia State Police said the incident happened just after 4 p.m. on Interstate 295 near the Creighton Road exit, northeast of Richmond.
The trooper involved in the incident had observed a 2021 Mazda CX-30 SUV traveling at a high rate of speed — nearly 100 mph — in a 70 mph zone.
He managed to pull the speeding driver over to the shoulder of the road. However, what should have been a routine stop and probably a traffic ticket turned into a cop’s worst nightmare.
The driver, described as “non-compliant to the trooper’s request,” had consented to a search, according to WRIC, which said it wasn’t clear why a search was requested. Nevertheless, when the driver decided to make a getaway, the passenger side door slammed shut, trapping the responding trooper, who managed to secure himself somewhat in the vehicle’s passenger seat before it took off.
Randi Stanley-Gibson, a witness who happened to be in the area at the time of the bizarre and scary incident, said she spotted the empty police vehicle and quickly noticed traffic slowing down as the speeding suspect was dragging the trooper down the road.
“We kept driving. It was all about 30 seconds later. The traffic just started slowing down. People were switching lanes,” Stanley-Gibson said, according to WRIC. “I told [my husband], I was like, ‘I believe someone’s trying to jump out of the vehicle,’ because I could see legs hanging out of the door that was open.”
Her first reaction was to dial 911 to report what she had just witnessed. At that time, she realized the trooper involved was being dragged down the road at a high rate of speed.
“His hat had flown out, and we were just like, ‘Oh my gosh, the police officer’s in the vehicle. He’s being dragged,’ because he was hanging out of it,” Stanley-Gibson said. “As we were on the phone with [the dispatcher], we kind of lost them. We could still see them swerving in and out of cars periodically. Then, all of a sudden, there’s just a cloud of smoke.”
Incredibly, the scene that Stanley-Gibson witnessed would go on for an excruciating three miles.
The driver of the speeding vehicle finally crashed into two semi-tractor trucks before coming to a stop. He reportedly took off on foot from there.
“At that point, we had pulled over, and a couple other people had, as well. We had just gotten out to make sure that [the trooper] was fine, and he was obviously shaken up,” Stanley-Gibson said.
“It’s obviously a miracle that the officer wasn’t more seriously injured,” she said. “But it sounds like it’s a miracle, too, that no other cars, like, nobody else on the road was hurt.”
The suspect, 38-year-old Milton Jermaine Lewis of Delaware, was later found at Cold Harbor Road in Hanover, Virginia. Authorities said they recovered a handgun from his vehicle.
Meanwhile, the trooper who was dragged was treated for “minor, non-life-threatening injuries,” Virginia State Police said in a Facebook post.
The trooper could have been killed in a number of different ways, including possibly being shot. Thankfully, he emerged from the horrific ordeal relatively unscathed.
Being a cop in America has always been a tough job. Still, it has undoubtedly been made much more challenging and dangerous in a new age of soft-on-crime prosecutors and efforts to defund police departments.
We’re fortunate that there are still good men and women willing to work long hours for little pay and far too much grief, all in the name of keeping their communities safe.
May God continue to protect them.
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