A Chattanooga police patrol car totaled by an accused drunk driver over the weekend, according to NBC Affiliate WRCB.
The crash happened early Sunday morning on the Olgiatti Bridge. The officer was responding to a disabled car on the side of the highway. Assistant Police Chief Glenn Scruggs said it’s a type of incident police officers frequently get called to, but this one was different.
"When he was sitting in his car finishing some paperwork when he was struck from behind by an oncoming vehicle,” Scruggs said.
The patrol car's windows were shattered and the trunk of the car was smashed in.
"It could've been a lot worse, thankfully the officer suffered very minor injuries and he's getting back to work here shortly,” he said.
The alleged drunk driver has been identified as Daniel A. Upton, 29. He was arrested on several charges including DUI.
Channel 3 learned there were two patrol cars hit within 24 hours of each other. Both happened on freeways.
"I’ve known officers that have been in this exact same situation with a car, where they are out dealing with the public, getting struck from behind and unfortunately lost their careers in law enforcement officer or altered it drastically,” Scruggs said.
It's something Scruggs said is becoming too common. Many are the result of drivers not abiding by Tennessee’s move over law.
"So if a car is on the side of a roadway with their hazard lights on we're asking that you move over to the next lane, if you can't safely do that at least slow down as you're approaching that car,” he explained.
Move over isn't new, it's a law that started in 2006 to protect first responders and road workers. This year, the state expanded that law to protect all stopped vehicles with their hazards on.
If you do violate the move over law, you could pay $500 in fines or face jail time.
Upton was brought to the Hamilton County Jail the night of the crash. He’s currently out on a $24,000 dollar bond.