State

Dec 2, 2013 1:51 PM by David Randall

Distracted Denver PD Officer Hits Parked Truck

DENVER, Colo. - Bad things happen. Denver artist John Henley knows all about that.

In August, he was diagnosed with kidney cancer. The new truck he bought a month ago was a celebration for beating it.

"[I] woke up last night [and heard a] big thump around 2:30 a.m. [It] sounded like the newspaper hitting the front yard," he said. "My wife opened the door and looked out says, 'Looks like there is a cop. No the cop car is on top of your truck.'"

It was parked off Monaco Parkway, in front of his home. He'd had it for only four weeks.

"You can see where it started," Henley described. "He pushed the truck 35 feet forward. We don't know it's totaled. We're working with the insurance, but it's done."

Henley said he talked to the officer who hit his car, a sergeant with the Denver Police Department.

"I asked him what was going on, [he said] 'I feel terrible. I was looking at down at my computer. By the time I looked up, there was no time to even swerve. [I] just smacked the back end of it. All I heard was a big thump.'"

DPD is investigating what happened. The department can't yet tell 9NEWS their version. They say reports on all incidents take time.

But, a spokesman says when you drive for a living, these things happen.

"I can tell you that we drive 10 hours a day, 4 days a week, 40 hours a week of driving - that accidents can and do happen and sometimes we're at fault," said Sgt. Steve Warneke, spokesman for the Denver Police Department. "And when we are, there are consequences that we have internally that we face when that situation arises."

The internal punishment for officers, if they are at fault, is severe.

"Once each case is investigated, it's important to look at the specifics, so we can determine if this was a training issue. If so, then we can get that corrected," Warneke said. "Always, always we're looking at best practices. If we can learn something as a department, from the mistake of one accident and pass it on to recruits and other people as we go forward, then that's something we're looking to do as well."

Henley hopes to replace the truck. He sees this incident as another reminder that driving should be the only focus when behind the wheel.

 

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