A city police officer en route to a report of a man screaming for help was involved in a vehicle accident at the intersection of Washington Avenue and National Road just after noon Tuesday.
Officer Nikki Anderson reported that she had activated the cruiser's emergency lights and siren as she was maneuvering through traffic to provide backup for another police unit also answering the call for help in another area of the city.
She said a gold-colored vehicle failed to heed the siren and lights and swerved into her path, causing the cruiser to strike another vehicle. The gold-colored car left the scene.
Photo by Heather Ziegler
A Wheeling police cruiser and another vehicle collided at the intersection of National Road and Washington Avenue while the cruiser was en route to an emergency call Tuesday. No one was injured.
Additional city officers handled the original call for help without delay.
No injuries were reported in the crash and both vehicles at the scene sustained moderate damage. Ohio County sheriff's deputies handled the crash report. Wheeling Police Deputy Chief Martin Kimball also responded to the accident scene.
Kimball said the driving public should be extra cautious when police cruisers are responding to a reported crime or crash. He noted that with just one officer in most cruisers and added patrol cars on the streets, the public will notice more officers responding to aid other units at a crime scene.
"It's going to happen. With more cruisers on the road, there will be interaction with the driving public and they need to be alert and aware of what's going on," Kimball said.
Emphasizing his message, Kimball yelled to a motorist driving by the accident scene to "put down your phone."
Kimball said many crashes and other problems on the road can be attributed to distracted drivers, especially those talking on hand- held cell phones.
On July 1, talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving in West Virginia will be a primary offense. In other words, state law will allow police officers to stop and cite drivers who are talking on their cell phones. Only hands-free cell devices will be permitted. Currently, it is a secondary offense to use a hand-held phone while driving.