WATCH: Lakeland officer struck by suspected DUI driver

Driver clips Lakeland officer who was in the middle of traffic stop

LAKELAND, Fla. - A "routine" traffic stop nearly turned deadly for Lakeland police officer Cory Suttle.

"I've made over 400 DUI arrests in my career but one Sunday morning sticks out among the rest because it nearly cost me my life," Suttle said in a video on the department's Facebook page.

Suttle stopped a suspected impaired driver at Main Street and South Florida Avenue at about 2:16 a.m. Sunday when he was struck on the left elbow by the mirror of a Dodge pick up truck. 

"The vehicle did not slow down or make any attempt to render aid or provide information," the department said on Facebook. "A few more inches and Officer Suttle would had serious, if not fatal injuries."

Suttle later caught up to the truck. 

The driver, Jerry Coots, 21, apologized for hitting Suttle.

"Coots said he panicked after the passenger in his vehicle told him that the had struck a police officer," the department said.

Coots was given field sobriety and breath tests, where he registered at nearly twice the legal limit, Lakeland police said.

Coots was charged with driving under the influence, driving under the influence with injury, leaving the scene of an accident with injury, failure to move over for a stopped emergency vehicle and failure to stop for a red light.

Florida's move over law requires drivers to move over a lane or slow down to 20 miles under the speed limit for first responder, utility or sanitation vehicles.

"This ensures that those of us who work on the side of the road can do so safely and go home to our families at the end of the day," Suttle said.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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