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Cedar Rapids Police, DOT release crash dash camera video

A crash on northbound I-380 causes backups Tuesday morning. (Phil Reed/KCRG)
A crash on northbound I-380 causes backups Tuesday morning. (Phil Reed/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: Dec. 18, 2019 at 7:54 AM CST
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A dash camera on board a Cedar Rapids Police squad car, as well as various cameras through the Iowa Department of Transportation, show the moment of a chain reaction crash on Interstate 380.

Those crashes caused a major slow down on the busy interstate during the morning commute on Tuesday morning. Police also cited all three drivers involved in the crash with failure to move over.

In Cedar Rapids squad car video, you see a disabled vehicle on the right hand side of I-380 near the H Avenue exit. A person with the Highway Helper is helping to change a tire.

As the Highway Helper walks in front of the disabled vehicle, and is about to start working on another tire, you hear the screech of brakes, then the sound of a vehicle hitting the squad car as the camera shakes, and the squad car moves.

"6-15, I've just been rear-ended by a car," you hear the officer say behind the camera.

The Highway Helper made their way to the passenger side window of the squad car.

"Are you okay?" the Highway Helper asks.

"10-4, are there injuries?" asks the dispatcher.

Suddenly, there's more screech of wheels locking up, and the sound of vehicles crashing, as you see a dark SUV and a white car smash into each other on the interstate in front of the squad car.

"Ah, well, the interstate is blocked," the officer responds, "they're crashing all over the place now."

Radio chatter from the officer's squad car indicates they're starting to respond to the crashes. On camera, you can see vehicles slowing down and trying to drive around the vehicles now blocking the majority of the lanes.

Through the call, the officer asks for the Fire Department to also respond in case one of the cars catches fire, as it appears to smoke. The officer also indicates the Highway Helper is checking others involved in the crashes for injuries, as the officer's back is hurt, and the officer doesn't want to exit the vehicle.

Within three minutes of the crash, you hear the first officers arriving on the scene, and that they're working to close the interstate.

Cedar Rapids Police released the video on their Facebook page Tuesday evening. On it, they reminded drivers that everyone involved have loved ones that want to see them come home safely.

"Please slow down, leave a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, and move over when emergency vehicles, DOT vehicles, or other utility vehicles are on the side of road with their emergency lights and flashers going," the post starts.

The Iowa DOT also released several videos showing those crashes. One of those videos comes from a camera mounted on the front of the Highway Helper vehicle.

From that angle, you can see the CRPD squad car in front of the Highway Help with its lights activated. Suddenly, a car breaks in the right hand lane of the interstate, but that SUV rear-ends it, sending the vehicles in opposite directions.

The car goes into the ditch, through a fence, and over the on ramp onto I-380 before stopping. The SUV careens into traffic, with multiple vehicles slamming on their breaks and moving out of the way. But a white car isn't able to stop, and slams into the SUV. The video goes on to show the Highway Helper heading over to the car to check on the driver, before heading back over to the interstate to check on drivers there.

In another view of the crash, the DOT released video from the camera that permanently sits along I-380 at H Avenue Northeast. From there, you get a birds eye view of the crash playing out. You can also see the Highway Helper's vehicle had its lights activated, and cones set out along the road. You also get a better view of how far away the car went through the ditch, and the following backup.

That crash happened at 7:08 a.m. Tuesday. Both the officer and Highway Helper had their lights activated on their vehicles.

Police say first responders took the officer to the hospital with what they called non-life threatening injuries. The officer was the only one injured, and doctors soon released the officer from the hospital.