Police car totaled during traffic stop

Published 12:12 am Thursday, January 7, 2010

NATCHEZ — No serious injuries were reported after a Natchez police car was totaled during a routine traffic stop Wednesday.

Sgt. Vince Bates said Officer Elvis Prater was traveling eastbound on Pilgrim Boulevard when he pulled over Michael J. Washington for running a stop sign at 9:43 a.m.

While Prater addressed Washington outside, a pickup truck slammed into the back of the police car, which then slammed into Washington’s car.

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The truck’s driver, Jeremy Wade Sutherland, was not taken into custody.

The front end of Sutherland’s truck had extensive damage. The rear end of Washington’s car was also damaged. Washington was taken by ambulance to Natchez Regional Medical Center and later released.

Bates said the crash took all involved by surprise.

“(Sutherland) said he may have dropped something,” Bates said. “He looked down for a brief second, and when he looked up it was too late to avoid the crash.”

Police Chief Mike Mullins said several officers are killed each year during routine traffic stops, and said the force is fortunate to have avoided a more serious incident.

Since the police car — a 2006 Crown Victoria — was totaled, Mullins said insurance will pay for the value of the car.