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Peru cop credited for saving tow driver from injury (IL)


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A fast-thinking Peru police officer is being credited with saving a tow-truck driver, and himself, from injury or death after a motorist struck the tow truck Tuesday on Route 251 near Hy-Vee.

 

Officer Jeremiah Brown was assisting at the scene of a spinout at 7 p.m. Tuesday on Route 251 at Midtown Road. There, a tow driver from Fulmer’s had pulled a stranded vehicle out of the median and was unhooking the vehicle, now resting in the passing lane of Route 251 southbound. Brown’s oscillating lights were activated.

 

Along came a southbound car headed toward them. An alert Brown shouted, “Look out.” Brown and the tow driver jumped out of harm’s path a split second before the motorist, trying to swerve but spinning out of control, struck the tow truck.

 

Peru deputy chief Bob Pyszka estimated Brown and the tow driver missed serious injury or death by less than a foot.

 

“It was pretty close,” Pyszka said. “If Brown wasn’t paying attention to the oncoming traffic, he and the tow driver could have been pinned between the car and the tow truck, causing very serious injury.”

Brown was not immediately available for comment. Fulmer’s declined comment.

 

Pyszka said the motorist who struck the tow truck was a 17-year-old Tonica girl whose name he declined to release and who was ticketed for driving too fast for conditions.

 

Pyszka acknowledged she tried to avoid impact but also failed to change lanes some distance from the crash. Brown’s oscillating lights had been activated at least 15 minutes prior to the crash.

 

“Any time you see emergency lights,” Pyszka said, “make sure you’re as far away in the opposite lane as possible.”

 

The near-miss was notable because of slick road conditions begun earlier that day. Tuesday brought a problematic mix of sleet, rain and freezing temperatures. Police and area tow companies reported dozens of spinouts over a lengthy span begun when sleet fell during morning commuting hours and extending well into the night.

 

The incident was observed by a passing motorist who uploaded a report to social media, and which quickly went viral. Peru police obtained footage of the close shave recorded by the camera on Brown’s police cruiser; but Pyszka said the footage was not yet available for release.

 

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