CNHI/Southeast Iowa

May 9, 2014

DASHCAM: Officer hurt after bizarre traffic stop

Police officer injured when tree falls on car

CENTERVILLE — Editor's note: Dash Cam video is available at the bottom of this story.

A Centerville police officer only has minor injuries after a bizarre incident during a Wednesday night traffic stop.

Officer Jeremy Veach will be OK, Centerville Chief of Police Tom Demry said. But he said his injuries could have been much worse.

“It’s a wonder he’s not dead,” Demry said.

Veach had pulled over a vehicle driven by Candice Duffey at the intersection of Fifth and Ontario streets at approximately 11:16 p.m. Wednesday. Five minutes later, the reserve police officer that was with him began calling for backup.

A large tree had fallen onto the hood of the vehicle, and hit officer Veach knocking him to the ground.

Veach sustained some injuries and Demry said he was expected to miss his shift on Thursday. He said he is hopeful Veach will return to duty soon.

Demry pointed to a “freak of nature” accident as far as the rotten tree falling down. He said he wasn’t aware of any strong winds at the time. National Weather Service weather history doesn’t show any elevated wind gusts in Centerville at that time and winds were registering a steady 10-12 mph.

Veach initiated the traffic stop because the driver did not have headlights on. Veach was talking with Duffey when the tree suddenly fell on top of the vehicle. Duffey was not issued a citation.

The driver of the vehicle was the lone occupant in the vehicle. She had minor injuries. The vehicle sustained major damage, but an official estimate was not available.

Dash cam video showed the reserve officer and Veach helping her out of the vehicle moments after the incident.

Officers often say there is no such thing as a “routine traffic stop.” Demry said this incident is “living proof.”

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