Distracted driver hits Mt. Juliet police vehicle

A Mt. Juliet Police Department SUV was struck on Interstate 40 early Sunday morning while officers were investigating an accident. No officers were injured, but a detained driver in the back seat of the SUV was injured.

MJPD Photo

Four Mt. Juliet Police officers, while investigating a three-car crash involving an impaired driver on Interstate 40, narrowly avoided injury when a MJPD SUV was struck by a distracted driver early Sunday morning.

According to a post on the MJPD website, an adult male, suspected of impairment and detained in the back seat of the patrol SUV, was injured. Officers arrived on Interstate 40 East near the 228 mile marker to investigate a three-car crash around 5 a.m. Sunday. While investigating the three-car crash, an adult male was found to be driving on a revoked driver's license and suspected of impairment. He was detained and placed in the back seat of a patrol SUV.

Around 5:50 a.m., a driver failed to see the multiple patrol vehicles and struck one of the patrol SUVs, launching it within feet of officers and another patrol vehicle. Officers immediately began to render aid to the injured suspect and checked on the distracted driver. No officers were injured.

"Motorists must always pay attention while driving. There are many distractions to a driver, but eyes must have a focus on the road ahead," said Chief James Hambrick in the website post. "Our prayers will be with the injured suspect, and we hope he recovers quickly."

The Tennessee Highway Patrol responded to the scene, and troopers are handling the crash investigation, which is MJPD policy when one of its vehicles is involved in a wreck.

According to the preliminary THP report, the distracted driver was Joseph S. Taylor, 43, of Lebanon. He was cited for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and transported to Summit Hospital by family members.

The suspected impaired driver was Hiram L. Drake, 59, of Nashville. He was transported to TriStar Skyline Medical Center.

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