Matthew Roberts, a 35-year old Decatur police officer was injured in a crash late Thursday night involving the driver of an 18-wheeler arrested on charges of drunken driving, police said.
The officer was parked on the shoulder of the southbound lanes of U.S. 287, just south of FM 51, in Wise County, which is about 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth, Decatur Police Chief Rex Hoskins said.
The driver of the 18-wheeler veered, striking the officer’s vehicle just before 11:30 p.m., Hoskins said. The patrol vehicle landed upside down, leaning against a pole. However, officer Roberts was able to knock out the windows to get out of the vehicle.
He was transported by air ambulance to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth and released about 4 a.m. Friday. He’s been on the Decatur police force for one year.
The condition of driver of the 18-wheeler was assessed at a local hospital and he was treated with non-life-threatening injuries and later booked into Wise County Jail on a DWI charge, Hoskins said.
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Here we have a case of 18-wheeler driver negligence and gross negligence and because of it, one of our boys in blue have been injured in the line of duty. Driving any vehicle under the influence of alcohol is absolutely negligent. But to drive a commercial vehicle, such as an 18-wheeler and tractor-trailer under the influence, that is a whole other story because the stakes raise exponentially. Driving an 18-wheeler while intoxicated is like driving a 50,000-80,000 pound bullet straight at other drivers on the road. As it stands, it appear officer Roberts will survive his injuries, but there may be lasting effects, disfigurements, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, mental distress, and a number of other contributing factors. In addition, because he was on duty at the time of the accident, there will be worker’s compensation issues as well as issues dealing with the 18-wheeler’s insurance company, who may try to shuck responsibility over onto the 18-wheeler company.
Needless to say, this will be a complicated ordeal for Mr. Roberts and his family. The coming weeks and months may be a long road ahead, and we here at Guest and Gray strongly suggest that Mr. Roberts and his family seek the advice and counsel of a licensed attorney to help guide him through this process. No one should have to walk through this type of legal “red tape” alone.
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