Irving officer recovering after suspected drunk driver hits squad car

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An Irving police officer was badly bruised after her squad car was hit by a suspected drunk driver.

Officer Julia Durham was blocking traffic to assist another accident scene and had just gotten back inside her vehicle when she was hit from behind. Thankfully, the officer is ok because she was protected by her squad car. But she knows this story could have had a much different ending.          

The 23-year-old Irving officer is still sore after her squad car was hit early Sunday morning.

“I’ve never been transported to the hospital or anything like that. This was the first time as a patient in an ambulance,” she said. “That was uncomfortable.”

Durham was assisting an accident scene blocking traffic to protect the accident victim and another responding officer. She’d been outside her vehicle. But shortly after getting back into the driver’s seat, a car driven by 22-year-old Brianna James smashed into the passenger side of her squad car.

Investigators say James was drunk at the time. Officers administered a field sobriety test.

Fortunately, Durham’s airbags deployed, but her squad car is inoperable.

“When my vehicle was pushed over I thought I was going to be pushed into the center barrier,” she said. “So I was kind of bracing myself for a second impact. Luckily, it didn’t go that far.”

Durham, whose interest in law enforcement began as a 14-year-old in the Explorers program, says she loves working overnights and being an officer is her dream job. But it comes with added danger and hopes people will make smarter decisions.’

“No one is saying don’t go out and don’t drink and don’t have fun with your friends or whatever,” she said. “But you can make a conscious responsible decision not to drive afterward.”