SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - Police say a suspected drunk driver put hundreds of lives at risk along one of Seminole County's busiest roads after he fell asleep at the wheel in the middle of traffic.
No one was hurt thanks to a quick-thinking of an Altamonte Springs police officer.
That officer parked his patrol car in front of the suspect's truck to absorb the impact if the man woke up and hit the gas.
The officer's instincts were dead on at the busy State Road 436 and North Lake Boulevard intersection at the entrance to Uptown Altamonte and the popular Crane's Roost.
The intersection is always busy, even in the middle of the night when it happened.
The driver immediately slammed on the gas forcing his truck and the patrol car toward oncoming traffic and into a tree.
Officers tried to shake awake the driver asleep at the wheel while other cars go right on by.
"He's unresponsive, the vehicle is in drive," Rob Pelton with Altamonte Springs Police Department said.
Investigators say 23-year-old Damien Browning passed out next to an empty 24-ounce beer can
and a half-empty bottle of vodka at a red light.
"Incoherent, passed out at the wheel, but we have a
5,000-pound machine that he is in charge of in gear and doesn't know what he's doing," Pelton said.
The back of the patrol car showed
the severity of the impact.
The trunk is about half its normal size, and where the bumper should sit is straight to the ground.
The force from the truck was enough to push the patrol car from a parked position to nearly 10 mph.
Police worry if they weren't there the results would have been deadly.
"They're not just risking their lives and destroying their lives but those that they're on the road with," Pelton said.