A Buckley police cruiser and an SUV were heavily damaged Thursday night in a wreck near Lake Tapps, according to Buckley police.
The officer was eastbound on South Tapps Drive East about 8 p.m. when the SUV missed a stop sign on 190th Avenue East and the officer’s vehicle slammed into it, Buckley Police Chief Jim Arsanto said.
The two people in the SUV and the Buckley officer suffered only minor injuries in the crash, Arsanto said.
“When I first got the call at home, I was anticipating a lot worse than it was when I got out here,” Arsanto said. “There’s a lot of twisted metal, but everybody’s walking away, and that’s what matters.”
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The teenager driving the SUV is an inexperienced driver unfamiliar with the area and didn’t see the stop sign at South Tapps Drive, Arsanto said, and he was traveling about 35 mph at the time of the collision.
“The officer did a great job making this as minor as it turned out to be,” Arsanto said. “It could have been a really serious accident.”
The front end of the police cruiser, a Ford Explorer, was “messed up a bit” after the collision, he said. The teen’s SUV sustained the brunt of the damage.
The department has 10 vehicles for its 10 officers, so the officer will have to use a retired vehicle kept as surplus until the cruiser is repaired or replaced.
Arsanto said his smaller department acutely feels the effect of a car being out of service.
“When one goes down, there’s a problem,” Arsanto said.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department will be investigating the collision.