Camp Hill police chief left with broken bones after traffic stop
TALLAPOOSA CO., AL (WSFA) - A man is accused of mowing a local police chief down with his truck after getting a ticket.
Chief Johnny Potts III was injured during the traffic stop in Camp Hill.
He was in good spirits Monday at the Lake Martin Community Hospital in Dadeville, thankful for all the calls and visits he's received as he recovers.
"I've had several calls and there's some get well balloons here in my room. I've had a lot of people come by and see me. It means a lot," the chief said. "My left leg is swollen. I have a few broken bones in my foot but other than that, I'm doing pretty good. It takes more than this to put me out."
Potts is a veteran officer. He started in law enforcement in 1992 in Camp Hill and has worked in several different places, including overseas.
He was on patrol Sunday when he spotted a traffic violation and pulled someone over on Martin Luther King Street.
Once the traffic stop was handled, Potts was walking back to his car to leave. He says the driver suddenly accelerated and slammed into him with his truck before taking off.
The chief declined to identify the man behind the wheel at this stage in the investigation, but Potts indicated that he's had "dealings" with the driver in the past.
"He was on the wrong side of the road when I got there and so our cars were face to face. After I gave him the citation, I left him and I'm looking over my back and as I get ready to get to my car, that's when he hit me," the chief said.
The impact forced Potts up onto his patrol car and then onto the ground. He called for help and was taken to the hospital for treatment.
"It happened so fast. He also hit my patrol car and damaged it pretty good," Potts said. "I wondered if my leg was broken because in 2004 I was in Iraq and I broke my right leg and I know how that felt. I couldn't feel my leg on that and it was the same this time."
He will meet with orthopedic specialists to address the broken bones in his left foot and injuries to his left leg.
Now, local and state investigators are working to build a case against the man who struck the chief.
The State Bureau of Investigation is the lead agency on the case. The Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Department is assisting.
Their findings will be turned over to the District Attorney's Office for review.
"I'm very lucky. I could have been killed," Potts said. "Any given day, anything can happen out there on the highway so officers need to keep their safety first and try to make it home at the end of that shift."
Several of Potts' fellow members of law enforcement came to the hospital to check on him after his brush with danger on the job.
The chief says he's focused on two things as he heals: "Getting back to work and catching this young man."
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