Police investigate officer-involved crash
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (WSVN) -- Authorities are investigating a high-speed crash involving a police cruiser that collided with another car and then careened into a South Florida home, sending both drivers to the hospital.
Mud, ripped up grass, tire tracks and debris surrounded Hollywood resident Teresa Alvarado's home at 4909 Johnson St., less than 24 hours after a series of deafening booms startled her Friday night. "Sounded like a big bomb or something like that," said the homeowner.
According to police, a Hollywood Police officer was responding to a burglary call in the area of 5010 Johnson Street in Hollywood Friday, around 8 p.m., when the officer and the driver of a BMW were involved in an accident. The officer then crashed his cruiser into the side of Alvarado's home, leaving a hole in the wall.
"It's just like a big boom, and that couch came over to me and hit me right here," said Alvarado as she described the effect of the collision inside her home. "I have to contact my insurance, I have to contact, maybe, the police, I don't know."
Eleven-year-old Yaileen DeLaRosa said she was inside the residence at the time of the crash. She said she initially thought the loud noise was "a bomb."
Residents in the area said they heard a very loud noise. "When it happened, all I heard was pure silence and then boom, boom, boom! Like three or four crashes, and then this lady just started screaming, and then that's when all the cops started showing up," said Danny Young.
Investigators said the police officer had his cruiser's lights and sirens on at the time of the collision. It remains unclear which driver was at fault.
Robert Pannunzio witnessed the officer getting out of his cruiser after he crashed. "He was in the car, and he started making his way and he laid down in the grass, and then a bunch of other cops came, and they helped him, and then they took him to the stretcher, and they took him to the hospital."
The officer, who is said to be in his 20s, was transported to Memorial Regional Hospital. Hollywood Police said the officer sustained serious but non-life threatening injuries.
The woman who was driving the BMW was transported to the hospital. The officer's family arrived at the hospital and was escorted inside the emergency room by several officers.
Pannunzio said he saw a gray Toyota with damage leaving the scene. "It had a messed up bumper, and as I came outside, we saw [the car] pulling away slowly, and then it just started heading down that street," he said.
Police are now investigating to see if there was a third vehicle involved in the crash.
Several colleagues said they went to the hospital to show their support for the victim. "It's very tough anytime that any person that you work with is injured, and so, as for any other officers here, we concentrate on what we have to do, and that's what we do, you know?" said Hollywood Police Officer Lt. Osvaldo Perez. "We come here, we focus on what we have to do, our duties, and we move forward."
Police said both drivers are currently out of the hospital and are expected to be OK.
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