Officer Loses Leg After Hit-and-Run Crash
CLEVELAND — An off-duty police officer out on an annual road trip nearly lost his life on the side of a busy highway.
On Wednesday, the out-of-town officer spoke from his hospital bed in hopes of finding the driver who hit him and left him for dead.
“Every year we take a motorcycle trip to meet friends in Vermont. This is our 16th year doing it,” Robert Bielak told Fox 8 News.
But this year Bielak, 46, didn’t make it.
His life changed in a flash along I-71 around 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
The off-duty Pinckney, Michigan police officer was on his motorcycle heading south as he made his way through Cleveland.
“Missed an exit and I pulled over to the side of the road … a good 10 to 11 feet off the road,” Bielak explained.
He glanced at his map when he was just south of the Ridge Road overpass. That’s where the officer was hit while sitting on his bike.
“No brakes. It was highway speed impact. Caught the left side of the bike and I was still sitting on it,” Bielak said of the accident.
Witnesses said officer Bielak flew into the air and hit a sign before he landed on the ground.
They also said the man who hit him was driving a 90s style, four-door Buick that is light beige metallic in color.
The driver pulled over briefly, but never got out of the car. He took off after a motorist pulled up behind him.
Bielak’s bike was smashed, and what’s worse, the officer lost his leg from the knee down.
He asked for the public’s help in tracking down the driver who hit him.
“I’ve got a wife and kids and thanks to this person I’m missing part of my leg, all thanks to this person who didn’t have the heart to stop and do what he should have done,” Bielak said.
Cleveland police are still looking for the Buick and said the vehicle will have heavy damage to the right-side front fender, bumper and molding.
It will also be missing a right-side hubcap and mirror.
Officer Bielak said his helmet and full riding gear helped save his life.
Anyone with information about this accident is urged to call the Cleveland Police Department.
Stick with Fox 8 News and FOX8.com for updates on this story as they become available.