Driver nearly hits Athens-Clarke County police officer

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A police officer and another man could have been seriously hurt when a driver hit his patrol car last month while he performed a field sobriety test.

According to the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, Officer First Class Joey Lewis pulled a man over on Macon Highway just before 12:30 a.m. on August 17.  Both men were out of their vehicles when a third car slammed into the police car, but neither of them was hurt. 

Officer Lewis's body camera captured the heart-stopping moment.

"Not only was there that loud noise from the impact, but you can see debris flying past both him and the person that he had stopped on the side of the road," said ACCPD Traffic Unit Commander Lt. Jon McIlvaine.  "My first reaction when I saw the video was thank goodness he listened to his training and positioned his car properly, [be]cause that more than likely saved both him and the person that he stopped from being seriously injured or killed." 

Lt. McIlvaine said this incident serves as an important reminder to all drivers to follow Georgia's Move Over Law.  Drivers should move at least one lane away from any emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road to allow them room to work.  If a driver cannot get over or is traveling on a one-lane road, they should slow down.

"It's extremely important--just to give you a little perspective, 10 percent of the law enforcement deaths nationwide every year are caused by an officer being struck by a vehicle," said Lt. McIlvaine.

The Georgia State Patrol is investigating the hit and run.