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Decatur firefighters and paramedics pull Decatur police officer Chance Sparks from his car after it struck a pole.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
Decatur firefighters and paramedics pull Decatur police officer Chance Sparks from his car after it struck a pole.

Patrolman hurt
in crash

Woman also injured, faces DUI charge

By Seth Burkett
sburkett@decaturdaily.com 340-2355

A driver under the influence crashed into a Decatur police patrol car, injuring both the officer and the civilian, police said Friday.

The wreck took place on Sixth Avenue Southeast at Eighth Street shortly before 7 p.m.

Police said it appeared Regina Leugh Cloer, 40, of Falkville attempted to turn left onto Eighth Street and struck the driver side of Officer Chance Sparks' southbound vehicle.

Sparks' unit was fully marked, said Lt. Frank DeButy, a police spokesman.

Sparks did not have his emergency lights activated and was not in pursuit or responding to a call for service at the time, DeButy said.

"That's what I'm getting from witnesses — he had the green light and was just driving along minding his own business," said Officer Mike Hazel, a traffic investigator who was at the scene. "That's not just from the officer witnesses, but from other witnesses as well."

Hazel said an off-duty police officer who was southbound in his personal vehicle a short distance behind Sparks saw the collision.

The force of the crash, which took place in the inside southbound lane, drove the patrol car into a utility pole, breaking it, DeButy said.

Cloer's car came to rest partially off the road against another utility pole a short distance down Eighth Street.

Ambulances took Sparks and Cloer to Decatur General Hospital.

The hospital treated and released Sparks. Cloer was still undergoing treatment at 9:15 p.m. and it remained unknown if she would be released or admitted, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Police arrested Cloer at the scene and charged her with driving under the influence, DeButy said.

DeButy said Cloer was on probation for having been convicted of a previous charge of felony driving under the influence.

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