Sergeant-in-Training David Hough talks about his experience saving his own life, and the life of a tow-truck driver on Apr 6. 2017. Diego Mendoza-Moyers/azcentral.com
A Phoenix police officer returned to duty this week following a harrowing incident last weekend in which the officer narrowly saved a tow truck driver and himself from being struck by a vehicle, according to Phoenix police.
David Hough, a nine-year veteran of the force and currently a sergeant-in-training, detailed the event at a press conference in Phoenix on Thursday, the day he returned to work.
On April 1, Hough was standing on the side of the road in the 200 block of East Greenway Parkway in north Phoenix, overseeing a vehicle tow when “for reasons unknown, possibly medical,” a vehicle crossed over a raised median and drove into oncoming traffic, according to a statement by Phoenix police.
The Toyota Yaris collided with two other vehicles, and then quickly approached where Hough and the tow truck driver were standing, according to the statement.
Hough then “shoved the tow truck driver out of harm’s way before he himself dove out of the way,” the statement read. The vehicles struck the spot Hough and the truck driver were standing “seconds prior.”
“There was no time to even think, I mean it was just a car coming at us, push and go help the other people that were there,” Hough said. “I still try to think about it, and it’s like I still don’t even know why I reacted the way I did.”
Hough suffered “some pretty good bruising” to his right leg and lacerations to his left leg, but got up after the accident to perform first aid on the driver of the Yaris, who was unconscious, and check on the other people involved in the accident.
“I come back to the gentleman in the white car, and I’m shaking him, trying to get a pulse, shaking him, screaming at him, trying to get anything out of him,” Hough said. “And then all of a sudden he gasps for air, so at that point I got his door open and got him out and laid him on his back … and then an innocent bystander came by and he helped me.”
Both Hough and the driver of the Yaris were transported to the hospital. Hough was released hours later, but the driver, a 29-year-old male, remained in critical condition Thursday, Phoenix police Sgt. Vincent Lewis said.
Lewis said the driver of the Yaris is not facing charges, and said police believe the reason for the crash was medical related.
Hough said it’s difficult to prepare for a situation where a car is speeding toward you, but “you put it in your hip pocket and you use it as a learning tool.”
“As first responders, we’re there to protect and serve,” Hough said. “We’re there to make sure that the citizens of Phoenix are protected also, and that’s what we end up doing.”
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