ROCKLAND – A police cruiser was wrecked in a collision with another car in Rockland Thursday afternoon. The officer and the driver of the other car were both rushed to the hospital.
Investigators said the cruiser had his lights and sirens on when the crash occurred.
The police cruiser was traveling north on Liberty Street when a sedan crashed into the side of the cruiser.
The Rockland police officer was trapped inside his cruiser, pinned between the Dodge sedan and a telephone pole.
“We were in the store and we heard the sirens go off and saw the lights through the windows and then we heard boom, boom and the store shook,” said Kelly Ergas, a witness.
“There was a boom, it knocked me off my feet and then I saw the telephone pole swing over back and forth,” said Steve Minasidis, a witness.
Police said the officer was responding to a call when the accident happened. Witnesses said the cruiser was struck broad side by the Dodge sedan.
“And I saw the police car approaching the intersection and for some apparent reason the other person in the other automobile might not have seen the police car coming and just slammed into the police car,” said Minasidis.
Rescuers had to use the Jaws of Life to cut the roof off of the cruiser to get the officer out.
“The officer was somewhat confined in the vehicle after the accident so the fire department did utilize the Jaws of Life to assist him out of the vehicle and my understanding is that he’s over at the hospital, doing well,” said Lt. Nick Zeoli of the Rockland Police Department.
Police said the officer and the middle-aged female driver were rushed to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
“Actually my wife ran over to the other side to try to comfort her a little bit. She got out of the car and she was disoriented as the airbag exploded and she said ‘oh I’m sorry I didn’t see you,’” said Minasidis.
The driver’s husband said the crash happened in a split second.
“Before she knew anything, it was over,” said Tom Ferguson, the driver’s husband.
“I’m thankful the both of them are okay and that no one else was involved. I hope the situation turns out correctly,” said Ferguson.
The Massachusetts State Police are now handling the investigation but no charges have been filed.
Witnesses said that the intersection is known for accidents and that they hope the town will install a traffic light.