A California Highway Patrol officer Friday morning was seconds from getting out of his patrol vehicle to retrieve a piece of plywood on Highway 99 when he was rear-ended.
“VERY LUCKY,” reads a post on the Modesto area CHPs Facebook page along with a picture of the damage to the back of the vehicle. No one was injured in the collision.
The officer was dispatched to northbound Highway 99, north of Taylor Road near Turlock, where the plywood was in the fast lane.
At about 7:20 a.m., he parked in the center divide and was about to get out of his vehicle when he was hit from behind.
A 22-year-old woman from Turlock driving a Chevrolet sedan made a turning movement to the left, possibly to avoid hitting the plywood, according to CHP Officer Tom Olsen. The Chevrolet turned counterclockwise, the back of it hitting the back of the patrol vehicle.
“Luckily, nobody was injured in this collision,” Olsen wrote in the Facebook post. “We ask everyone to please slow down, maintain a safe following distance, and be aware of your surroundings. We truly do not want to see anyone get injured out on our highways.”
Olsen said clearing debris from the highway is part the job of the CHP. Officers will stop their vehicles short of the debris so they can use it as a shield and are trained to jump to the other side of the center divide in an emergency.
The cause of the crash in under investigation but drugs or alcohol do not appear to be a factor, Olsen said.