CPD: Officer crashes into mailbox and utility pole on E. Brainerd Road
A Chattanooga police officer ran off the road in the 8400 block of East Brainerd Rd while on patrol, Saturday. Officials say the officer crashed into a utility pole and mailbox causing more than 400 area residents to lose power for a while.
"One of our officers while on patrol became fatigued and lost control of his car and as he was trying to regain control he struck a mailbox and a utility pole," said Eric Tucker, Chattanooga Police Dept.
On average, an officer can drive 20 to 80 miles per shift. The crash happened around 5:30am at the end of this officer's overnight shift. Officials say the officer was not involved in a pursuit at the time. Investigators believe lack of sleep is to blame.
"We got home Sunday evening... the pole was down, my mailbox was laying up next to my car and the cable system was pulled away from the house," said neighbor Steve Ale.
Steve Ale has lived off of East Brainerd Road for 20 years, his yard has seen many drivers lose control.
"I think it's the curve... people come down through here thinking the road is straight and it's not straight and they just drive right through the yards," said Ale.
Neighbors say someone crashes near the curve and through the yard, at least once every year. The officer involved in Saturday's crash has minor injuries. Officials say the squad car is in the shop with serious damage. Neighbors believe the elevation of the curve, makes it hard to regain control if you ever veer off.
"As high as the road bed is, if you go off the shoulder you're going to have problems getting back on," said Ale. "I hope they do something... this place looks like a war zone out here."
TDOT considers this section of East Brainerd Rd a high crash area, there is a plan to straighten and widen the road to 5 lanes. That's 2 lanes on each side with a continuous turning lane. The project should be also complete with a sidewalk and bike lanes on each side by 2017. CPD officials say the officer is taking a few days off to recover from his injuries.