POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Bodycam footage from a Lake Wales police officer shows a car narrowly missing citizens stranded on the side of Highway 27 Tuesday night.
According to police, Officer Jacob Raines stopped to assist the stranded motorists whose car was stuck in a ditch along Highway 27 south of Thompson Nursery Rd.
In the video, Officer Raines’ patrol car can be seen blocking part of the roadway with the emergency lights enabled as he and others worked to get the vehicle out of the ditch.
When Raines noticed a vehicle that did not appear to be slowing or moving over, he attempted to warn the driver by waving his flashlight but the driver, later identified as Jose Antonio Cuevas of Fort Myers, was allegedly texting and driving.
When the vehicles collided, the patrol car spun into the roadway while the momentum carried Cuevas into a nearby Ford Mustang.
Police say the second crash knocked one man to the ground and struck a juvenile in the hand. The cars struck other bystanders as well but they did not sustain any injuries.
Authorities say Officer Raines was standing in front of his patrol car moments before the crash.
“Had Officer Raines still been in front of his patrol car at the time of the crash this story would have ended much differently.” Chief Chris Velasquez added, “This was an avoidable crash caused by distracted driving and not moving over when emergency vehicles were present.”
Cuevas was cited with careless driving and texting while driving (1st Offense). The crash totaled the police vehicle.