Lakeland officer struck by another DUI driver, while making DUI arrest, police say

"A few inches to the right and this could've been tragedy," the post read

By Shannon McLellan - Social Media Producer

LAKELAND, Fla. - A Lakeland police officer had a close call with an alleged DUI driver when he was hit with a vehicle's side mirror on Sunday during a traffic stop, the police department said.

Officer Cory Suttle was on patrol early Sunday morning when he pulled over a car for making an illegal right turn. When Suttle pulled the car over, he noticed the driver, 36-year-old Whitney Ritchie, showed signs that she was impaired. 

While standing on the driver's side of the vehicle, a Dodge pick-up truck passed by, the driver reportedly making no effort to slow down, and hit Officer Suttle with its side mirror. Police say the driver did not stop the car or slow down after contact was made.

"Just a few inches to the right and this could've ended in tragedy," Lakeland police department wrote in a Facebook post. 

Suttle notified another officer to take over Ritchie's DUI investigation and followed the car who hit him. The driver, 21-year-old Jeremy Coots, immediately apologized for striking Suttle and told Suttle he did not stop because he panicked. Suttle then performed a field sobriety test, where Coots blew a .14, almost twice the legal limit.

Both drivers were taken to Polk County Jail and Officer Suttle was treated at the Lake Regional Health Center.

The Lakeland police department reminds citizens to approach law enforcement patrol cars with caution or safely change lanes if you are able. 

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