‘Hits close to home:’ Mt. Eaton officer hurt after being hit by a car while directing traffic

MT. EATON, Ohio– A police officer was seriously injured when he was hit by a car in Wayne County Saturday night.

It happened on US 250 at state Route 94 in Mt. Eaton just after 11 p.m.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said a man was driving eastbound when he approached the flashing light at the intersection and hit the officer, who was directing traffic.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Roberts said the officer was directing traffic as people were leaving a local festival.

The officer, identified as Sgt. Joseph Clark, was flown to Akron City Hospital with serious injuries. He remained in the hospital Sunday night.* According to his co-worker, Officer David English, “He has his sense of humor back and is very , very, grateful for everyone’s support and prayers,” English said.

Sgt. Roberts says during all law enforcement activity flashing lights are the cue for drivers to slow down and pay attention. Roberts said Officer Clark got out of the patrol vehicle to direct traffic and the department’s only patrol vehicle was called to another scene.

“We just want people to pay attention and be aware that something is going on when they see those lights and to focus on what they are doing and be a little bit more deliberate in their actions when they are near those lights,” said Roberts.

Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash, the highway patrol said. Charges are pending against the 28-year-old driver.

“It appears that it was just a bad accident that nobody was doing anything negligent, just one of those things that happens,” said Sgt. Roberts.

Clark, 51, has worked in law enforcement for more than 15 years and joined the Mt. Eaton Police Department in February 2014.

Roberts says it was still a close call, and as a law enforcement officer, that’s not a good feeling.

“It hits close to home between Mentor, between the trooper that was killed a couple years ago, along with the Cleveland officer that was killed up there and now being struck here in Wayne County. It can happen anywhere,” Roberts said.

*editor's note: Fox 8 was originally told that the officer was released from the hospital to continue his recovery at home