When someone gets hit by a car so hard they fly into the air, it’s a safe bet that they’re dead. Find a priest, start the Kaddish, whatever is your custom. But Fort Worth Police Officer Matthew Lesell walked away with a concussion, fractured vertebra and hyperextended foot when it happened to him. Lesell told The Fort-Worth Star Telegram on Monday that he’s surprised it wasn’t worse.
“My job is going to accidents and seeing horrific events, and I’ve seen accidents that don’t look nearly that bad, but there were worse injuries,” he said. “I’m lucky with how it turned out.”
Recently released dash-cam footage shows how this traffic stop went wrong on Interstate 30 early in the morning of July 7. Lesell can be seen talking to the driver of a black sedan. All normal for now–then the holy crap moment. A white car enters the frame, first apparently sideswiping the officer’s vehicle, then slamming into the back of the other vehicle, then finally hitting Lesell.
The cop can be seen flipping over on the hood of the white car, before falling over into the right-hand traffic lane. It wasn’t over. Lesell, still conscious, got off the road, and held the driver who hit him until backup arrived, he told NBC-DFW.
The officer expects to be out of work for about another month.
31-year-old Mike Mitchell was arrested for hitting Lesell. He faces one count of intoxication assault causing serious bodily injury to a police officer. This second-degree felony could result in a 20-year prison sentence and $10,000 fine.
[Screengrab via Fort-Worth Police Department]