New video raises questions in death of Metro officer on I-65 - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New video raises questions in death of Metro officer on I-65

Posted: Updated:
Officer Michael Petrina Officer Michael Petrina
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

New video has emerged of the deadly crash involving a Metro police officer on Interstate 65, and it could change everything.

A man who was caught in traffic that afternoon was going to be late for work, so he decided to record a short video of the traffic to show his boss he wasn't lying. He had no idea that his video would become part of the investigation into the officer's death.

The video was shot just yards away from the accident that killed Officer Michael Petrina and begins just a second or two after impact.

Police believe the video shows that the driver of the motor home that hit Petrina was not being truthful.

The motor home driver, Dean Diver, of Toledo, OH, said he had no chance to avoid Petrina.

"I look over. I see the sign flashing. I look in my mirror. All the lanes are blocked. I was on my brakes. I was headed right for the police car," he told Channel 4 News a few days after the deadly collision.

So, Diver said he chose to try and squeeze his RV between the police cruiser and a Tennessee Department of Transportation help truck.

Metro police have reviewed the video hundreds of times, and they believe it contradicts Diver's statements.

For instance, just seconds after the accident, the video shows traffic was not at a standstill. There was some congestion, but there was space between vehicles, and traffic moved at a slow, steady pace.

"The video reveals that all the other drivers traveling this route were proceeding at a very slow speed, apparently mindful of the dangerous circumstances they were encountering," said Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson.

"The driver of the large motor home, towing a large trailer was not proceeding in a like manner," Anderson continued. "He was likely traveling at a much faster speed in the open lane or was traveling at a similar, very slow speed, but decided that despite the emergency vehicles with warning lights blocking the lanes, along with traffic cones, he could squeeze the large motor home through the narrow opening in the vehicle barricade."

Diver told Channel 4 News his only chance was to thread the needle - the space between the squad car and the TDOT truck. That's where he hit Petrina in that space.

The man videotaping the crash never realized what had happened, even as another officer is seen running by the man's window, screaming "officer down."

Chief Anderson says any assertion that a "blind curve" on the interstate created an unavoidable emergency is self-serving and has no basis in fact.

Metro is finishing the crash re-enactment. It's about one week away from completion, and everything will then be sent to the district attorney's officer for review and possible charges against Diver.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All right reserved.

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