Officer OK After Crashing into Police Station
Kent Police conducting internal investigation of accident
Kent Police are investigating an unusual crash.
One of the department's officers struck a corner of the police department at 319 S. Water St. in a police cruiser.
Kent Police Lt. James Prusha said the accident happened in the back parking lot of the police station at 3:10 p.m. on Nov. 10.
"There were no injuries reported," Prusha said.
The crash involved Kent Police Officer Matt Butcher, who reported a possible mechanical malfunction as having caused the accident, according to the department's accident report.
In the accident report, Butcher, who was driving the car, said he was rounding a communications radio tower in the parking lot behind the station and stopped the patrol car in front of the building's garage door entrance.
Butcher put the car in reverse and felt it hit what he thought was the radio tower, so he put the car into drive — that's when it accelerated rapidly without his foot touching the gas pedal.
Butcher said the car "accelerated rapidly" so quickly that the force pushed him back in the driver's seat.
Several officers were in the parking lot at the time, including Kent Police Officer Joseph Hadaway, who was standing in front of Butcher's patrol car. Butcher swerved to avoid hitting the officer and struck the northeast corner of the building as a result.
"Officer Hadaway was directly in front of my car and I would have hit him," Butcher wrote in his witness statement.
In his witness statement, Hadaway said it appeared Butcher's left rear tire scuffed a concrete support base for the communications antenna.
Hadaway said it seemed as if Butcher thought he hit the metal tower itself.
"I observed the vehicle then accelerate very quickly towards me, then swerve out of the way to avoid hitting me," Butcher wrote.
Several officers reported hearing squealing tires before the sound of metal crunching as the car hit the building.
The accident happened during the afternoon shift change, and Hadaway was in the parking lot waiting to take over the cruiser Butcher had been driving.
A damage estimate for the car, a 2011 Chevy Caprice, was unavailable. The building sustained no obvious structural damage other than scraping to the brick facade.
The cruiser is one of nine new cars the department bought in 2011 as part of its regular patrol fleet update.
Prusha said the department is conducting an internal investigation to determine the exact cause of the crash.