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Roanoke crash connected to Wednesday shooting remains under investigation

Crash is police department's 32nd multi-vehicle crash in 2019

ROANOKE, Va. – The crash connected to Wednesday's fatal officer-involved shooting in Roanoke remained under investigation Thursday.

It happened at the intersection of Gainsboro Road and Orange Avenue as a Roanoke city police officer was headed to the shooting.

The Roanoke police officer reportedly hit a car at the intersection, went into oncoming traffic and hit two more cars.

It was the 32nd multi-vehicle crash involving a Roanoke Police Department vehicle.

A spokesperson for the department, however, said that includes everything from something like what happened Wednesday to two officers bumping their mirrors together as they pull up next to each other to talk.

For law enforcement officers, responding to a call can be a tense situation.

"When we're running lights and sirens and we're responding to an emergency, we've got a lot of things going on. Our adrenaline is ramped up because we're listening to what's going on," Martinsville Police Department Lt. Lane Clark said.

That's why motorists need to be aware of emergency vehicles, something Martinsville police department Lt. Lane Clark emphasizes.

He's been an emergency vehicle instructor with the department for about 10 years.

One thing that helps is knowing how to react.

"If there's a way for the citizen to kind of pull over and give us a little bit of room, we would certainly appreciate that. What we don't necessarily want them doing is pulling out into the intersection, because that may cause an accident," Clark said.

If you're headed toward an intersection and you see an officer coming with their lights and sirens on, don't come to a sudden stop.

"Slow to a stop and then, maybe, try to pull over. Probably the worst thing you can do is just come to a complete stop suddenly because, there may be an officer behind running lights and sirens going to an emergency, and we're scanning the scene to see what's going on," Clark explained. "We're scanning the intersection. If a car stops abruptly in front of us, and people do that, we understand that, we've got to be able to react to that while scanning the intersection to make sure we can proceed."

If you do pull over, pull over to the right or pull into a turn lane if possible.

Several people suffered injuries in Wednesday's crash, but all were recovering Thursday.

The Roanoke Police Department's spokesperson said it was too early to say Thursday if charges may be filed.


About the Author:

Colter Anstaett

Colter Anstaett joined WSLS in January 2016 as the station’s Southside bureau reporter.

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