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home : local news : local news
February 21, 2019

1/29/2019 1:28:00 PM
Texting driver strikes area officers during stop
Two Lawrenceville police officers were treated and released at hospitals Sunday evening, when they were struck by a passing vehicle on U.S. Business Route 50 while on a traffic stop.

A St. Francisville woman, Erika Danielle Boger, 39, was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and other crimes as a result of the accident.

According to an Illinois State Police accident report, officer Kody Waggoner, 32, Vincennes, was treated and released at Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes. Officer Byron Middlecoat, 36, Sumner, was treated and released from Lawrence County Memorial Hospital.

"I'm relieved that both officers are going to be OK," said Lawrenceville Chief of Police James White. "The cars can be replaced."

Waggoner received a leg injury, according to White. He was hurt when he tried to jump the Boger vehicle as it approached his squad car. Middlecoat's injuries were less serious, White said. He received a cut on his hand, which was taped up, and then he was sent home.

Waggoner, who has worked part-time for the LPD for about five years, is scheduled to become the newest full-time member of the force in the immediate future. White said that he expects Waggoner to be sworn in some time this week. Middlecoat is also a relative newcomer to the force, as he moved over from the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department last fall.

The accident report says the officers had conducted a traffic stop on Business 50, about .75 miles east of Lawrenceville. The officers were returning to their police cars when the crash happened.

The ISP says Boger, driving a 2008 GMC Acadia, was texting and ran off the road, striking the rear end of a 2010 Ford Crown Victoria police car, which was being driven by Waggoner. The ISP says Waggoner was standing outside of the squad car, which was parked on the right shoulder with its emergency lights activated.

The impact drove Waggoner's vehicle into the rear of a 2018 Ford Taurus police car, which was being driven by Middlecoat. According to the accident report, Middlecoat was sitting in the car with the emergency lights activated when the accident occurred.

According to a Lawrence County Jail report, Boger was released from Lawrence County Jail on $100 bond. Along with the DUI charge, she was charged with Scott's Law, which mandates that upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, when the authorized emergency vehicle is giving a signal by displaying alternately flashing red, red and white, blue or red and blue lights or amber or yellow warning lights, a person driving the approaching vehicle shall move over or slow down for the stopped emergency or maintenance vehicles.

Other charges against Boger include failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident, obstructing a peace officer, illegal transportation of alcohol by a driver and texting while driving.

White says he expects that both police cars will be "total losses." 

The Boger vehicle was also towed from the scene.

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