ROWLETT, Texas - FOX 4 News obtained video showing how dangerous a stretch of Interstate 30 has become for police and other first responders.
Two officers with the Rowlett Police Department were blocking traffic at about 8:30 Friday night to help a stranded vehicle on eastbound I-30, near Dalrock Rd.
In the dash cam video released by police, the first thing you notice is how fast many drivers are zipping past the responding officers.
One of the officers was still in the vehicle when a suspected drunk driver plowed into the police vehicle.
Fortunately, the officer only received minor injuries.
Rank and file Rowlett cops call the short but dangerous stretch of I-30 through Rowlett “the Autobahn.”
Every year, they respond to hundreds of calls there, and Friday evening, an officer was almost killed.
It’s gotten so bad for first responders, police say it’s not if, but when, and how bad they will be injured when the next crash happens.
“It’s extremely dangerous! It is frustrating,“ said Rowlett PD Lt. David Nabors.
Police say the close call Friday evening happened as the officers were blocking traffic on eastbound I-30 to protect first responders as they assisted a stranded motorist.
“Within a minute or two, he’s struck from the rear by a Ford F-150 pick up truck,” Lt. Nabors said. “After glancing off the squad car, it hit the concrete median on I-30 and slid down another 500 feet. We estimate that she was going at least 65 miles an hour.”
Police arrested the driver of the pickup and charged her with driving drunk.
“Based on the evidence we found at the scene, we don’t believe that the brakes were ever touched, unless it was touched right before the impact,“ Lt. Nabors added.
The officer was also badly shaken, but not seriously injured.
What’s perhaps most disturbing is Rowlett police say they respond to hundreds of assist motorist calls on the 3 1/2 mile stretch of I-30 every year.
In 2015, Rowlett PD responded to 863 calls for service on I-30. In 2016, that number jumped to 1,034 assist calls, while in 2017, there were 1,033.
In May 2015, there was another close call when an officer picked up a small flashlight just seconds before his squad car was sideswiped, nearly killing him. The driver just kept on going.
The officer was not injured.
Lt. Nabors says motorists need to follow the law and slow down or move over for emergency vehicles on the side of the road before something horrific happens.
“Today, we're talking about the damage of a vehicle and how dangerous this is, and we’re not talking about the loss of a life and planning a funeral,“ he said.
Rowlett police say are planning some educational enforcement by ticketing people who do not follow the “emergency vehicle slow down and move over” law, which includes police, fire, and tow trucks.