ORLANDO, Fla. – Three men, including two Orlando police officers, were injured early Thursday in a two-vehicle, wrong-way crash, authorities said.
The crash happened on Princeton Street near John Young Parkway. Princeton Street was closed from John Young to Texas Avenue while the crash was investigated and cleaned up.
Orlando police said all three victims were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon told reporters Thursday afternoon both officers required surgery.
Officers Conrad Barrios and Nicholas Vandersluis were in an unmarked patrol car when they were hit head-on by another driver, according to Rolon. The chief said the crash is being investigated as a possible DUI.
“One of the officers doesn’t have any recollection at all of what happened. I mean, that’s how severe the impact was,” Rolon said. “The other officer at least had the ability to be able to say, ‘A car’s coming in the wrong direction,’ and called it out on the radio, but immediately thereafter, the crash occurred.”
Another Orlando police officer was behind the unmarked car when the crash happened and began rendering aid to those involved, Rolon said.
“I’m telling you the good Lord has been watching over officers here in the city of Orlando,” Rolon said.
On Wednesday, another officer was involved in a crash during the procession escorting fallen Officer Kevin Valencia to an Orlando funeral home. During that incident, the officer’s motorcycle slid 700 feet, but he did not suffer serious injuries. Rolon said his helmet likely saved his life.
“It goes to show the sacrifices that the men and women in law enforcement make every day that the inherent risks that they must accept as part of their duties,”Rolon said. “It goes to show that the most majority the bulk of the officers that are in this profession are doing good deeds, or doing heroics. So when sometimes someone does something contrary to our own, then obviously, we understand that, but I think these are examples that these men and women while we’re at home, including myself sleeping at night, we can rest assured that they’re out there protecting us that they’re out there willing to risk their lives for someone they may never know.”
Earlier this month an officer in Tampa was struck and killed by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 275, according to authorities.
(3) The officers will be admitted. Both are alert and being treated for their injuries. A person involved in the vehicle which crashed against the officers is also being treated. This is an ongoing investigation. pic.twitter.com/sNDbIl5aiI— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) March 18, 2021
BREAKING: Drivers, please seek alternate routes, as Princeton St. between John Young Pkwy & Texas Ave. remains closed due to a crash involving 2 vehicles, one containing 2 of our officers, and one containing a wrong-way driver. (1 of 2) pic.twitter.com/lcW5lnrk3f— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) March 18, 2021