A police officer from Sydney, Australia had part of one of his legs amputated after being struck by a driver on Friday, Feb. 16. The drive was allegedly on his phone while driving.
Senior Constable Jonathon Wright and his colleague Matthew Foley were setting up a random breath testing station at Leumeah in south-west Sydney when the car swerved into both officers, pinning them against their own car, reported 7 News.
The impact crushed Wright’s leg and first responders had to apply a tourniquet to save his life.
One of Foley’s legs was fractured by the impact, reported the news station.
Both injured officers were rushed to the hospital.
Wright’s foot and 15 cm (5.9 inches) of his leg had to be amputated during an emergency surgery, with doctors informing his family that it was possible that more of the leg may need to be amputated at a later date.
The driver of the vehicle, Jakob Thornton, 22, was allegedly looking at his phone for 10 to 20 seconds when he crashed into the officers, reported the news station, citing court records.
Thornton was denied bail during a court hearing on Saturday, Feb. 17, where he appeared on a video link. The 22-year-old man had been caught previously using a mobile phone while driving in 2016, according to the Daily Telegraph.
New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller slammed reckless drivers who use their phones while driving calling it a “cultural problem,” the newspaper reported.
“How many lives need to be ruined before drivers wake up to themselves? Getting a call about one of your officers being injured is the worst part of my job and nothing can prepare you for it, time and time again,” Fuller told the newspaper.
“We almost lost a police officer due to another driver’s reckless behaviour.
“There is a cultural problem in this state, where drivers think it’s more important to text and drive before considering the potentially life-threatening consequences.
“As Commissioner, it is my role to protect life, so I am open to any solution that will discourage drivers from touching their mobile phones behind the wheel,” he added.
Thorton is expected to appear in court on Wednesday, Feb. 21.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Wright by a family friend to raise $10,000, which has already been exceeded. As of Feb. 18, more than $57,600 had been raised.