Deputy and officer recovering after brush with death

June 7, 2013 4:08:43 PM PDT
A Galveston County deputy and a Houston police officer are recovering in the hospital after a brush with death. They were directing traffic around construction on the Gulf Freeway near the Galveston Causeway when a vehicle barreled into them.

The two lawmen are still in the hospital, recovering after a driver slammed into their vehicles on I-45. Investigators tell the victims that driver was traveling between 80 and 100 miles an hour.

Deputy Courtney Banks was driving a Chevy Tahoe on Wednesday night when a driver slammed into it on the Gulf Freeway.

"From looking at the pictures that I saw of my truck, there's no way," Banks said. "There's no way I should have survived that."

Deputy Banks spoke to Eyewitness News on Friday, just being moved from intensive care at UTMB Galveston. He was working an extra job the night of the wreck, protecting road crews as they replaced reflectors on I-45, just north of the causeway.

The impact forced his vehicle into a car about 500 feet ahead. It was driven by Hempstead Police Officer James Heath. Both men say they had on blue and red flashing lights. Neither saw the car speeding toward them.

"Nothing," said Officer Heath. "It happened that quick."

Heath has injuries to his neck and back. Banks ruptured a spleen, says he has blood on his brain and has bruised, if not broken, ribs. Health says investigators tell him drugs were found in the car of the driver who hit them.

"She needs to be charged, and that will be determined by her blood test whenever that comes back," Officer Heath said.

That driver has not been arrested or charged. Right now she, too, is in the hospital.

Banks, a married father of four, is just grateful he's alive.

"I'm like a tank, you know. I break down, but I get back together," he said. "I just thank God for that. He gave me another chance."

Another chance, Banks says, because this is his second close call in the last couple years.

The driver who allegedly hit the officers is in fair condition. Right now she has not been arrested nor charged, pending the outcome of toxicology reports.

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