CHP officer intervenes to stop unresponsive driver drifting into oncoming traffic in Marin

When a California Highway Patrol officer noticed a driver who appeared unresponsive drifting into oncoming traffic in Corte Madera on Thursday, she pulled open the door of the moving vehicle and slammed on the brakes, preventing a possible head-on collision, authorities said.

Officer Leslie Poteet was driving westbound on Tamalpais Drive approaching Highway 101 at about 4:35 p.m. when she heard honking behind her patrol car, said CHP Officer Patrick Roth.

In her rearview mirror, Poteet saw a blue Toyota Echo drifting over the solid double-yellow lines and into the eastbound lane of Tamalpais Drive.

The Toyota then sideswiped another vehicle, but both cars kept moving. Poteet made a U-turn and blocked eastbound traffic on Tamalpais Drive in an attempt to avoid another collision with oncoming traffic.

As the Toyota approached Poteet’s patrol car, the officer saw that the driver, a 75-year-old woman, appeared to be experiencing a medical emergency, Roth said.

“It was like the lights were on but nobody was home,” Roth said. “The woman had kind of a blank stare.”

The woman’s Toyota then collided into the left rear of Poteet’s patrol car, directly behind the driver’s door. The Toyota kept moving, Roth said, but slowly. The woman didn’t seem to be pressing the gas pedal and the car was traveling slightly uphill.

Seeing that the Toyota wasn’t stopping, Poteet jumped out of her car, ran toward the moving vehicle and opened the driver’s side door. She lurched over the driver, hit the brake pedal with her foot and put the vehicle in park.

The driver was transported to Marin General Hospital for treatment. Roth said the woman’s condition is unknown, but doctors believe that she likely had a seizure while driving. Authorities do not suspect she was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he said.

The vehicle that was sideswiped left the scene.

Poteet, who was experiencing pain in her shoulder from pulling open the door of a moving vehicle, was transported to the Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center, Roth said. She was treated for minor injuries and released.

“That was some quick thinking,” Roth said. “The fact that she chased the car down and hopped in and turned it off is definitely over and above.”

Source: mercurynews
CHP officer intervenes to stop unresponsive driver drifting into oncoming traffic in Marin



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