Officers fall 16 feet from Southwest Fwy to avoid suspected drunk driver

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Police say a suspected drunk driver apparently caused two officers to fall 16 feet from the Southwest Freeway overnight. Fortunately, they were not seriously injured.

The two officers, who are with Houston Police Department's DWI Task Force, were on the freeway attending to a single-vehicle crash at the outbound U.S. 59 exit ramp at Newcastle just before 3 a.m. Friday.

According to police, another driver struck the stopped vehicle and went around it. The vehicle came toward the officers, with one of them getting hit in the ankle. The impact caused the 9-year veteran to go over the freeway wall and plunge to the ground.

Police say another officer jumped out of the way and also went over the ledge, holding on to the side. According to paramedics at the scene, the officer let go after seeing his partner on the ground. They said he went down to see if he was OK.

Both landed on their backs in a grassy area and sustained no spinal or head injuries. They also had no broken bones from the fall.

Officers say a 25-year-old woman was the suspected drunk driver in the other vehicle. She was arrested on suspicion of DWI.

Police are crediting first-responding EMT workers who screamed at the officers about the incoming vehicle. They say if it wasn't for their warning, the officers could have faced a life-threatening outcome.

"I saw a vehicle drove around a fire truck that was blocking the exit and heading our way," said Wesley Plesant, who was one of the fire department paramedics at the scene.

"I turned to my left and I saw headlights coming at me," Leonel Garcia added, recalling the moment the driver breached the crash scene.

Garcia says he heard his partner yell to "get out of the way." But, the driver narrowly missed him, instead hitting one of the officers.

Investigators believe the driver was traveling at about 75 mph.

Authorities have not yet released her name, and she hasn't been officially charged yet.

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