UMD police officer says seatbelt saved him during crash |

UMD police officer says seatbelt saved him during crash

Updated: May 26, 2022 05:39 PM
Created: May 26, 2022 08:07 AM

Officer Josh Neumann has served the UMD Police Department for four and a half years.  “I love my job,” he told us on Wednesday.

He was in the middle of an overnight shift early Tuesday morning when he was dropping off an impaired driver at the hospital downtown.

After that, he got back in his squad, and headed up 6th Avenue East to go back to UMD.

"The last thing I ever expected was a guy to blow the stop sign, and for it to be an impaired driver behind wheel," he said. "He hit the left side of my car, and dragged me sideways. The force was enough to make my seatbelt lock up. It did a great job keeping me where I needed to be, so the crumple zone could do its job protecting me."

Newer vehicles are designed to absorb some of the impact.

Thankfully, he wasn't hurt in the crash. "As soon as I got my bearings, I looked myself over. I wasn't hurt. So I turned on my lights, and let Duluth squads know that now I needed help with an impaired driver. The next thing I did was check on the occupants of the other car, because it's my job to make sure they are OK."

Neumann told us that a mentor told him it was going to be a matter of when, not if, a drunk driver hit his squad. Well, this happened to him just five years into his career.

Still, he has a public service atittude about it. "If that impaired driver had to hit anybody, I'm glad it was me. I was wearing my seatbelt, and it was in a newer vehicle with crumple zones, and not someone from a vulnerable population."

He added that you should not get behind the wheel if you're drunk. "No cab fare, Lyft fare is worth your life. Driving is already so dangerous, why increase the odds with alcohol?"

The driver of the other car now faces three new DWI charges. He has DWI convictions on his record already.

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