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Officer survives collision after resident rescues him from burning patrol car

A Poplarville police officer was saved by a resident after he broke his leg and totaled his patrol car while pursuing a speeding vehicle Tuesday night.

While he was attempting to pull over a speeding vehicle, Officer J.D. Herring’s patrol car slid out on gravel, ran over a stop sign and collided with several brick columns before it caught fire at approximately 11 p.m. Tuesday, said Police Chief Danny Collier. Herring broke his leg during the collision, but Collier is hopeful that he will be back at work within a month or two.

The department has filed insurance claims for the patrol car and plans to purchase a replacement vehicle with insurance money. The department does have an extra patrol vehicle and will be able to use that vehicle until it can purchase a replacement, said Collier.

Herring attempted the stop after seeing a west bound vehicle on West North Street speed past while Herring was traveling north on South Haugh Street. As Herring turned onto West North Street, his radar clocked the vehicle traveling at 70 miles per hour in a zone rated at 20 miles per hour. Even though Collier used his lights and sirens to effect a traffic stop, the suspect vehicle never stopped.

Instead the driver turned right onto Whitesand Road and turned off the vehicle’s headlights. Herring continued his pursuit and kept the vehicle in his sight. The headlights were turned back on, but after three curves in the road Herring lost sight of the vehicle.

Herring came to a left hand curve in the road when his patrol vehicle slid out of his control on a gravel driveway, said Collier.

At the intersection of Whitesand Road and Birch Boulevard, Herring’s patrol car collided with a stop sign before going through several brick columns where it came to rest, said Collier. During the collisions, Herring broke his right tibia and the car began to smoke.

Residents who lived nearby heard the crash. One resident came to the vehicle and hoisted Herring out, at which time the vehicle caught fire, said Collier. The resident carried Herring over his shoulder up the road approximately 30 yards from the vehicle to wait for paramedics.

Several Sheriff’s deputies were responding to provide backup in the pursuit, so they were the first on the scene, said Collier.

Paramedics transported Herring to Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, where he had to have some rods and pins placed in his leg and stiches in his left hand.

“He’s alive, and we’re thankful for that,” said Collier. “Hopefully he’ll be back to work in a month or two.”

By the time the fire department arrived, the patrol vehicle was a total loss, said Collier.