Friday morning crash on south side seriously injures IMPD officer

Second crash in 2 days involving IMPD car

INDIANAPOLIS - An early morning wreck on southbound Interstate 65 pinned a decorated Indianapolis police sergeant in his car, with emergency crews having to cut off all four doors of his car to save him.

Indianapolis police (IMPD) officer Christopher Wilburn said at 3 a.m., IMPD Sgt. Anthony McLemore was involved in a crash on southbound I-65 and South Keystone Avenue. That's near exit 107 on I-65.

Wilburn said when a responding officer arrived at the crash scene, they found the unconscious sergeant trapped in his car, which was pinned up against a retention wall.

Emergency crews were able to stabilize Sgt. McLemore, Wilburn said, and they had to cut all four doors off the car to get the man out.

He was taken to IU Methodist Hospital in serious condition. He was considered stable and in good condition after having surgery to repair a broken leg later Friday afternoon.

Wilburn said he personally knows the sergeant, who's been on the IMPD force 14 years. 

"He's an outstanding leader, but more importantly, he's part of the IMPD family," Wilburn said.

This is the second crash in two days involving an IMPD vehicle. Thursday morning, a police officer was sent to the hospital after a suspected drunken driver barreled into the back of his IMPD vehicle on the city's southwest side.

Wilburn said it's been a tough couple of days for the department.

"When you get these calls at 2 or 3 in the morning, it raises your heart rate, obviously," Wilburn said. "We're just hoping and praying he pulls through and gets back to doing the good work (for) the citizens."

Investigators are unsure what led to the crash, but Wilburn said each and every member of IMPD that drives a vehicle is put through strict training.

"(Our) emergency vehicle operations instructors are good at what they do," Wilburn said. "We're certain (this crash) will be reviewed, as is customary, but it will take time."

Witnesses told investigators they saw Sgt. McLemore's vehicle traveling south on I-65 when it struck the retention wall. Wilburn said he did not believe alcohol or any other intoxicants played a factor in the crash.

Wilburn said some IMPD vehicles are equipped with dash-cam recording devices, but Sgt. McLemore's vehicle did not have one.

Officials with the Fraternal Order of Police said more than half of the marked police vehicles have more than 100,000 miles on them and have been in service for at least five years or more.

"The fleet services, we have an aged fleet, falling apart and some are unsafe. And that's a recipe for disaster," FOP president Sgt. William Owensby said.

The police department is conducting an inventory of the fleet of police vehicles to determine which vehicles are in need of the earliest replacement. IMPD is adding only 26 new vehicles this year, which critics say is not enough to keep wheels on the road.

"We've got a plan. We're trying to identify the fleet and see how we best go about replacing cars," Deputy Chief Brian Roach said.

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

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