PENINSULA, Ohio – A Peninsula police officer is recovering from injuries after his cruiser was hit while he was helping a stranded driver on I-271 Northbound Friday morning.
Sgt. Daniel Renz, 65, was assisting Zachary Woods, 25, of Sterling, who slid off the highway near Route 303 around 6:30 a.m. Troopers said Woods was in the back seat of Renz’s cruiser parked on the side of the highway when a Honda Accord driven by Sarah Johnson, 36, of Norton lost control, spun sideways and rear-ended the cruiser.
Johnson was flown by medical helicopter to Akron City Hospital and was listed in critical condition. Peninsula Police Chief Joseph Varga said Renz hit his face on the dashboard radar detector and required stitches. He was released from Akron City Hospital Friday afternoon. Woods was treated for minor injuries.
Renz is a 35-year veteran of the Peninsula Police Department. Varga said he had a “feeling” and told Woods to put on his seat belt moments before the cruiser was hit.
“This could've been much, much worse," Varga said, crediting Renz’s experience and instinct. “He’s shaken up by it.”
Investigators said icy conditions on a turnpike overpass just before the crash site played a role. They’re reminding drivers to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles.
Renz is expected to be off work for several weeks while he recovers.