By The Associated Press
VICKSBURG — A Mississippi Highway Patrol officer from Vicksburg escaped unharmed after an on-duty wreck Tuesday night landed his patrol car upside down in rising water.
Master Sgt. John Minor told the Vicksburg Post that he shot windows out of his car to get air to breathe and call for help. The 40-year-old state trooper suffered a couple of fractured ribs and cuts and bruises among his injuries.
He was recovering at home Wednesday.
Minor was headed north on U.S. Highway 61 South about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, on his way to a wreck on Interstate 20.
“It was raining so bad out there last night,” Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. James Walker said. “He wasn’t even traveling at a high speed, but the vehicle hydroplaned and he lost control and went off the road.”
“Once I realized I was going to lose control, I started to brace myself,” said Minor, an 18-year veteran. “I felt the car sliding off the road, and once it began going down the embankment it started flipping and then landed roof-down in water.”
Rain and road runoff coming down the embankment started filling up the car, he said, and as the water rose, he could hear the popping and crackling of radio and other electrical systems shorting out.
With the roof of the car caved in, there was little room for him to maneuver.
“I started running out of air,” Minor said. “Finally I found my revolver and shot out the window.”
Water then ran out of the vehicle, and Minor said he stuck his head out the window to take a breath. Then he began calling for help.
“I had a couple rounds left, so I fired out the back window hoping someone would hear me,” he said.
He said his patrol car had landed in the backyard of a Marion Park home — he’s not sure whose home — and they called 911 and helped pull him out the back window.
Emergency workers took Minor to River Region Medical Center where he was treated and released.