This morning while directing traffic at S. Henry Clay Blvd. and E. Liberty Ln., an Ashland officer was struck from behind and injured by a vehicle. Southern Boone Fire and a University Hospital ambulance responded and evaluated the officer. The officer was treated at a local urgent care clinic and released.
Numerous Ashland officer have experienced near-misses at the intersection while directing traffic. Chief Gabe Edwards had previously expressed concern for officers’ safety, and has worked with the Southern Boone County School District to find a solution. City officials met with representatives from the School District this afternoon and agreed the traffic control will cease, effective immediately. APD and the City remain committed to pedestrian safety, and will post an officer at the intersection, call volume permitting, to assist those crossing the street as needed.
The intersection has been the subject of numerous traffic studies. The City is continuing to evaluate options for improving the intersection to better accommodate the flow of traffic and ensure pedestrian safety. With the growing population in that area and the proximity to the schools, the area is a priority location for enhancement.
“This intersection has been a growing problem for our community for a while now,” said Mayor Dorise Slinker. “I’m relieved our officer is back on duty and eager to continue working with the School District and our City Departments to find a permanent solution.”
“The Southern Boone School District is encouraging parents dropping off students at the primary and elementary schools to allow a little extra time and patience while driving through the intersection,” said Christopher Felmlee, Superintendent of Schools. “The school district is continuing to work with the City of Ashland and the Ashland Police Department to determine a long-term solution to the issues with the congested intersection.”
The driver of the vehicle that struck the officer stopped and cooperated with the investigation. The driver was not cited, as the intersection is not designed to accommodate a person standing in the middle of it and the driver clearly had no intention of striking the officer.
This officer injury comes less than two months after another officer was assaulted on a domestic call. That officer suffered a full tear of his Achilles, underwent surgery, and returned to light duty yesterday. He will not return to patrol duty for an estimated 8-12 months. The two injured officers represent 40 percent of the full-time patrol officer staff.