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Officer OK After Crashing into Police Station

Kent Police conducting internal investigation of accident

Kent Police are investigating an unusual crash.

One of the department's officers struck a corner of the police department at 319 S. Water St. in a police cruiser.

Kent Police Lt. James Prusha said the accident happened in the back parking lot of the police station at 3:10 p.m. on Nov. 10.

"There were no injuries reported," Prusha said.

The crash involved Kent Police Officer Matt Butcher, who reported a possible mechanical malfunction as having caused the accident, according to the department's accident report.

In the accident report, Butcher, who was driving the car, said he was rounding a communications radio tower in the parking lot behind the station and stopped the patrol car in front of the building's garage door entrance.

Butcher put the car in reverse and felt it hit what he thought was the radio tower, so he put the car into drive — that's when it accelerated rapidly without his foot touching the gas pedal.

Butcher said the car "accelerated rapidly" so quickly that the force pushed him back in the driver's seat.

Several officers were in the parking lot at the time, including Kent Police Officer Joseph Hadaway, who was standing in front of Butcher's patrol car. Butcher swerved to avoid hitting the officer and struck the northeast corner of the building as a result.

"Officer Hadaway was directly in front of my car and I would have hit him," Butcher wrote in his witness statement.

In his witness statement, Hadaway said it appeared Butcher's left rear tire scuffed a concrete support base for the communications antenna.

Hadaway said it seemed as if Butcher thought he hit the metal tower itself.

"I observed the vehicle then accelerate very quickly towards me, then swerve out of the way to avoid hitting me," Butcher wrote.

Several officers reported hearing squealing tires before the sound of metal crunching as the car hit the building.

The accident happened during the afternoon shift change, and Hadaway was in the parking lot waiting to take over the cruiser Butcher had been driving.

A damage estimate for the car, a 2011 Chevy Caprice, was unavailable. The building sustained no obvious structural damage other than scraping to the brick facade.

The cruiser is one of nine new cars the department bought in 2011 as part of its regular patrol fleet update.

Prusha said the department is conducting an internal investigation to determine the exact cause of the crash.

Ted M November 21, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Yea, I am going to need some devine intervention if I ever do anything wrong. I am sure cops are good people, its just that its not fair for the unfair treatment.
Misty Jones November 22, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Funny how all these new user names keep popping up every few weeks as another name retires into oblivion and warning people the same paranoid thing about first and last names appearing and the ever-growing love affair with google stalking.
Ted M November 22, 2012 at 12:25 AM
I am just going to have to write a letter to the chief instead of taking it on here. But not because of what misty has to say.
Teresa K. November 22, 2012 at 04:57 PM
@Mr. Confederate: we all need the cops sometimes.... We have to have them fill out official accident reports for our car insurance companies. The insurance companies, lawyers, and judges all want to know: did you fill out a police report? I'm glad you carry a pistol. It's important to exercise your constitutional rights.
SchumannsRoadside December 11, 2012 at 12:07 PM
to some who say .. accelerated by itself? .. yes it can happen. it is caused by a fault in the cruise control..which is vacuum advanced or electronically controlled as for instance the 2002 chevy silverado has had similar issues as to accelerating in drive without the driver pressing on the gas pedal and when putting into park the vehicles engine had revved up to almost 5000 rpm.. not trying to clear anyone but it can happen..

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