DPS officer survives 25-foot fall off highway overpass

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by Marie Saavedra

azfamily.com

Posted on February 9, 2012 at 7:20 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 9 at 11:27 AM

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Department of Public Safety officers are used to responding to crashes, but on Feb. 3 officers responded to a wreck involving one of their own.

"I work in the East Valley," Sgt. Tom Neve said. "That particular area isn't where I was intending to work that night."

He was headed toward Loop 101 on a call. He was going north on Price Road at Southern Avenue when a woman in the right lane began to turn left, cutting into his lane. Neve was going about 45 mph at the time.

"I began to take evasive action," Neve explained. "I steered to the left. I applied the brakes. I tried to avoid the collision. I was just bracing for the impact with the wall.

"I remember going through the fence above the wall and thinking that this actually wasn't as bad of an impact as I was bracing for," he continued. "I knew at that point that I was going to be dropping down off the bridge. ... I remember being suspended and I remember feeling the seat belt holding me in and thinking what was going to happen next was probably going to be worse than hitting the wall."

Amazingly, the squad car landed on all four tires far enough from the busy lanes of the 101. With only minor injuries, Neve was able to make his own call for help. He believes the woman just made a mistake, and he has no ill will -- just some bruises, a sore back and neck, and deep gratitude.

"Very thankful. Thank God something worse didn't happen. I'm here to talk to you today!" he said.

Neve expects to return to work in a few weeks. The driver in question could receive a citation for a traffic violation.
 

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