Iowa officer injured when hit by van

By Lee Hermiston
Iowa City Press-Citizen

IOWA CITY, Iowa — An Iowa City police officer who was removing debris from an intersection was struck by a minivan Tuesday morning.

Sgt. Doug Hart, a 14-year veteran of the force, responded to a complaint of nails in the intersection of First and Muscatine avenues shortly after 9 a.m., Sgt. Troy Kelsay said. Hart was in the intersection with a broom, and at 9:16 a.m., Kelsay said Hart came on the radio and clearly was distressed and in pain.

"There was obviously something wrong," Kelsay said.

Kelsay said Hart was hit by a minivan and taken to a hospital after several officers, including Kelsay, arrived at the scene.

"Surprisingly, his injuries appeared to be pretty minor," Kelsay said, adding they were not life threatening.

The Iowa State Patrol was investigating but had not released any details, including the driver's name, as of late Tuesday afternoon.

Two Iowa City women, Sarah Drea and Markie Channon, said they saw the minivan hit Hart. Drea said she saw Hart picking up debris from the road while the van was waiting to turn right. Channon said Hart had his back turned to the van and the driver accelerated quickly and struck him.

"She just full on hit him," Channon said.

The women said the impact tossed Hart back several feet, slamming him into the pavement. Drea said he got up momentarily before falling back onto the curb. Hart was easily seen in the intersection before being hit, she added.

"I don't know how she didn't see him," Drea said. "I honestly don't. Just pray, pray for that man."

Hart joined the Iowa City Police Department in September 1992. He previously was in charge of records and the public information officer for the department. He now is one of two patrol sergeants assigned to day watch, Kelsay said.

Kelsay said officers are used to responding to people in situations like this, but it is different when the person is someone close.

"It is a friend and a co-worker, and you're not 100 percent certain what you're walking into," he said.

Copyright 2007 The Iowa City Press-Citizen

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