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Peoria County Sheriff provides update on Deputy injured in rollover

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 6:52 PM CDT
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PEORIA COUNTY (Heart of Illinois ABC) - The Peoria County Deputy who was injured in a rollover accident Tuesday afternoon remains hospitalized, while the driver accused of hitting him faces several charges.

The Deputy was headed back from a training session in Normal when investigators say he and another driver came up on a construction zone with a zipper-style lane merge. The crash left the Deputy - a military veteran and longtime member of the force - seriously injured.

“He is tough. He’s a tough guy,” Peoria County Sheriff Brian Asbell said. “He is going to be slow getting back to work, but I’ve got the ultimate confidence - just with his mindset and his attitude - that he’ll be back on the street where we need him.”

Asbell said he visited the Deputy - whose name is withheld - Tuesday night in hospital, where he is dealing with internal injuries and fractures.

“He was in good spirits when I talked to him yesterday - he was cracking some jokes. That’s what we do in moments of crisis - we tell jokes,” Asbell said.

The crash happened around 4:00 p.m. Tuesday at Mile Marker 107 along I-74 in Tazewell County.

Another driver allegedly jumped into the Deputy’s lane, causing the squad car to hit a ditch, roll over several times and end up on its roof.

“In construction zones, the biggest thing is recognizing what you see long before you even get there,” said Peoria driving instructor Doug Burgess, who adds construction zones and lane merges can lead to a lot of mistakes. “They put signs, and they make them certain shapes and colors, so you can recognize them from a long way away.”

“People just don’t check their blind spots. They rely on their mirrors and their mirrors will never tell them the whole story. They’ll never show anything,” Burgess added.

41-year-old Douglas Dodge of Ferndale, WA now faces several charges, including Following Too Closely, Improper Lane Usage and Unlawful Possession of Medical Marijuana.

While the Deputy is expected to make a full recovery, Asbell adds the accident could have other lasting effects.

“When you have situations like we did yesterday, it doesn’t help recruitment or retention. But we still need more men and women to join this profession to keep the roads safe,” Asbell said.

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