WYOMING, Mich. – It’s something no officer wants to experience, and according to Wyoming DPS Officer Ryan Silvis, you can make sure it doesn’t.
Officer Silvis lived the terrifying moments earlier this month while helping a driver on a snowy stretch of U.S. 131 northbound. It all happened in the blink of an eye.
“I was dispatched to a single car accident on the highway,” said Silvis, referring to a truck that had skidded off the road on the left side of the highway. “That section of highway is three lanes, so I parked my cruiser in the middle lane.”
Officer Silvis immediately threw on his flasher lights, alerting approaching traffic they needed to get over to the right lane. But, as he was talking to the driver he was helping, not everyone was taking note of his lights.
“When I was talking to her, at the last second out of the corner of my eye, I saw headlights,” said Silvis. “And my brain kind of went, ‘those aren’t supposed to be there.’”
The fast-moving car slammed into the parked truck, then into Silvis and the other motorist.
“All I could do was kind of turn my body,” he said. “I wasn’t even able to brace for the impact.”
Officer Silvis was thrown some 30 feet after impact. The other woman was pinned between the guardrail and her truck. Suffering from a fractured hip, Silvis was amazingly able to get up and make it to his cruiser to call for back up.
“After that I was kind of on auto pilot,” he said. “I reached for my radio to call for more cars and call for an ambulance, and my radio was no longer there...When I stood up, I kind of looked down at my arms and legs and went ‘okay, they’re still where they’re supposed to be…”
While Officer Silvis and the other woman he was helping are recovering nicely, it’s an incident he says could have been prevented with a simple rule of thumb.
“Well I think the key is to slow down,” Silvis said. “The law says when there’s an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, or anywhere on the road…slow down and move to an open lane.”
Wyoming DPS confirmed to FOX 17 that the driver who struck Silvis is set to be arraigned sometime next week, but didn’t provide any further details or a name, but Officer Silvis is hoping his story and words act as a lesson to all drivers, regardless of road conditions.
“We’re not just first responders,” Silvis said. “We’re also husbands and fathers. So if you just give us a little bit of space and slow down a little bit, that would make our job a lot easier.”
Silvis returned to light active duty Tuesday.