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Ohio man charged in wreck with police cruiser

Jun. 22, 2013 @ 10:57 PM

HUNTINGTON -- A Proctorville, Ohio, man faces misdemeanor charges in connection with running a red light and hitting a marked police cruiser, all while being under the influence of drugs when the early afternoon crash occurred, according to court documents.

The accident happened just after 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the intersection of 5th Avenue and 20th Street, just east of downtown Huntington. The police investigation that followed tied up weekend traffic for more than five hours.

Both the police officer and his female passenger were treated and released from St. Mary's Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, according to a press release issued by the Huntington Police Department.

Investigators charged Derick Turley, 32, with second-offense driving under the influence, driving under the influence causing injury, second-offense driving on a suspended license for DUI and running a red light, all misdemeanors.

Cabell County Magistrate Mike Woelfel arraigned Turley on those charges and set a $20,100 bond. The suspect was incarcerated at 6:35 p.m. in the Western Regional Jail.

Investigators believe Turley's van traveled north through a red light and struck the passenger side of the eastbound police cruiser, a 2013 Dodge Charger, according to the press release.

Those injured were Huntington Police Sgt. Darrell A. Booth and an unidentified female passenger. She was trapped in the wreckage and cut out of the vehicle by firefighters and paramedics. A court document states they suffered a broken collarbone, head injuries, lacerations and other injuries.

Huntington Police Capt. Mike Albers did not release the woman's name nor her connection, if any, to the police department. He provided no reason.

The press release categorized the investigation as ongoing. Albers said officers are looking into where Turley obtained the van and whether he was authorized to drive it. They also are interested in learning if somebody permitted him to drive the vehicle, and, if so, whether that person knew Turley's license had been suspended.

Another aspect of the investigation involves whether distracted driving contributed to the van's role in the crash, Albers said. They also are awaiting the result of blood tests to determine what drugs were involved.

The criminal complaint charges Turley showed constricted pupils and fresh needle marks on his left arm, which, together with his performance on a field sobriety test, indicated both impairment and recent intravenous drug use. Turley told investigators he had taken an 800 mg ibuprofen. His blood alcohol content measured zero.

Records obtained by police show Turley with a February 2009 drunken driving conviction in Ohio, followed by an April 2012 conviction for driving on a suspended license, according to the criminal complaints. Those same court documents show Turley with a driver's license from Ohio and West Virginia.

Information gathered at the scene indicated Turley was driving a company van for a work purpose, although Albers said it was registered to an undisclosed individual. The commercial purpose for Turley's trip remained unverified as of Saturday evening, Albers said.

The wreck caused a number of airbags in the police cruiser to deploy. The collision knocked off the back bumper of the cruiser when it was struck in the passenger side.

The intersection reopened to full traffic just before 6 p.m. Saturday. Albers explained the extended closure was necessitated due to the police department's involvement and the possibility of serious injuries and criminal charges. He said thorough investigations are completed any time a crash involves such injuries and the potential of criminal charges, regardless of law enforcement being involved.

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