CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWQC) – The police model 2015 Ford Explorer is now only a mangled wreck, but the two officers sitting inside at the moment it was destroyed are going to be fine.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” says Cedar Rapids Police Public Safety Communications Coordinator Greg Buelow. “They wouldn’t be alive today if they hadn’t been wearing seat belts.”
The officers were helping direct traffic after an accident on I-380 last Saturday at 2:48 a.m. when a Cadillac CTS Sedan smashed into the passenger side and rear of the officers’ SUV.
The crash killed both occupants of the Cadillac, including the driver, Martrell D. Watson, 21, and passenger Kaitlyn M. Hall-Stougard, 22, both of Cedar Rapids.
While the final investigation is not yet completed, a preliminary investigation finds Watson lost control of the vehicle, began sliding sideways, and crossed three lanes of traffic before striking the police Explorer.
In a Monday Facebook post, Cedar Rapids Police extend sympathy to the families of the deceased victims and posted photos of the officers’ demolished SUV as a reminder to wear seat belts.
“Please take those few precious seconds to buckle up every time that you are in a motor vehicle,” reads the Facebook post.
The force of the impact crumpled the body of the Explorer to the point that the officer sitting in the front passenger seat had to be extricated by first responders.
However, both he and the officer in the driver’s seat were treated for minor injuries and soon released from the hospital.
“The SUV is crushed like an accordion,” Buelow tells KWQC. “It’s amazing both officers are going to be okay.”
The Facebook post indicates Cedar Rapids Police are mindful two people were killed in the crash but the graphic SUV photos are being shared because “we would be amiss as an organization that’s focus is on public safety, not to share visual evidence that seat belts saved the lives of the two officers involved.”