Crash Witness Says Lights Blinded Approaching Drivers - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Crash Witness Says Lights Blinded Approaching Drivers

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -  The Metro police officer hit by a car while on the job early Saturday morning remains at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Colleagues said Officer Brent Hoadley was alert and talking with family.

Meanwhile, an eyewitness to Saturday's early morning crash gave more insight into what may have played a role.

John Vann was on his way to work when he drove by the first accident on Murfreesboro Pike at around 5:40 a.m. Saturday. Moments later, as he narrowed into one lane of directed traffic, he was a key witness to a second accident that happened just a few feet in front of him.

"That's when I saw the officer in the air coming down and at first I didn't notice it was an officer, I just saw the shiny reflective gear; that's when I realized it was a cop," said Vann.

The cop was Metro officer Brent Hoadley. Vann watched as a driver ignored Hoadley's cue to slow down and then to stop, the driver kept going, hitting the officer head-on.

"I saw him in the air and it was above the car and that is when he came down and started rolling," Van recalled.

Police Spokesperson Don Aaron stated Saturday that the driver that hit Hoadley should have known to merge into one lane and slow down.

"It was clear to all the other drivers that there was a collision there were at least two police cars, ambulance and a fire truck also tending to that first accident," said Aaron.

But as a driver, Vann said that was just the problem.

"Once I passed the accident, the lights literally blinded me and even though I slowed down and was in the furthest lane over, I couldn't see what was going on," he said.

At least two eyewitnesses reported that several emergency lights and police high beams headlights were shining right into oncoming traffic, giving a blinding effect to drivers headed right towards officer Hoadley.

"It's just no different than someone going outside in the pitch dark and someone sticking two flashlights in your eyes and then removing them and you are not going to be able to see anything because it's kind of blinded you," said Vann.

He said it was powerful enough to overpower the protective police gear.

"Officer Hoadley was in uniform and wearing his florescent reflective vest," said Aaron.

"The officer probably assumed that the car could see him and you can't," recalled Vann.

Vann said he hopes that drivers will learn from this: to slow down and pay close attention to what's ahead in an emergency situation. But, he also hopes police will remember where to shine their lights and where not to in an early morning emergency.

"It's something I think they need to look into and come up with some kind of safety thing with the lights maybe point them down," said Vann.

The driver claimed he had a blood sugar issue that affected his vision right before the accident happened. No charges have been filed against the driver who hit Hoadley, but the accident is still under investigation.

Hoadley remains in critical but stable condition at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

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