Lakeland PD officer clipped by truck during traffic stop

- A Lakeland Police officer was nearly killed while performing a traffic stop.

Officer Cory Suttle has more than 400 DUI arrests under his belt. Sunday he was about to notch another.

But then out of nowhere, a passing truck’s mirror clips officer Suttle’s elbow. It was all captured on his in-car camera. 

It happened near the corner of Main Street and South Florida Avenue in downtown Lakeland. 

“I suffered only minor injuries but a couple of inches more to the right and that traffic stop could've ended in my death,” said Officer Suttle.

Both drivers, Whitney Ritchie the first stop, and Jerry Coots the second driver, were arrested for DUI. 

Coots faces a bunch of additional charges including violating Florida’s move over law.

“You are required by law to move over for police fire ambulance tow truck driver’s and utility workers now,” said FHP Trooper Sgt. Steve Gaskins.

Or you must slow down to 20 miles under the limit if you can’t safely leave the lane.

The law was passed in 2002.

“Unfortunately we've seen hundreds of officers throughout the years hit injured and even killed because people don’t move over,” Sgt. Gaskins said.

Following his near-death experience, officer Suttle has a simple message for drivers.

“If you’re going to go out and drink enjoy yourself but have a plan and have somebody sober drive you home,” he said.

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