Car believed to have struck Orlando police officer found
A car believed to be involved in a hit-and-run incident that injured an Orlando police officer has been located. Investigators found the car on Lake Pearl Drive in Gotha. The vehicle had been set on fire and the windshield shattered.
“We were having coffee and we heard a loud boom and saw the smoke and a horn going on, so we hopped in the car and came over here and the car was literally 20 feet high in the air with flames,” said neighbor Ken Ledford.
Officials say Officer William Anderson, who has been with the department since 2007 and is currently assigned to North Patrol day shift, was run over by a suspect during a traffic stop that occurred around 2:45 a.m. on Monday, near the intersection of South Kirkman and Vineland roads.
Video of the entire incident, captured on a dashboard camera inside the officer's patrol, has not yet been released and it remains unclear what led the off-duty officer to conduct the traffic stop.
“The passenger side door opened, and the passenger fled. The officer began walking around in front of the vehicle, and as he did, the driver struck the officer," said the Orlando Police spokeswoman Sergeant Wanda Ford. "Our officer did fire his weapon. We don’t know if the driver was shot. All we know is that he fired his weapon.”
Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol are helping in this investigation. The officer is recovering in the hospital.
“I’m sick and tired of people running from the police, not complying to police officer’s orders," said Orlando Police Chief John Mina, "and certainly, we are very upset that this individual tried to murder one of our police officers.”
Chief Mina went on to say that officers are trying to protect the community, but that "bad people are out here as well and trying to run over our police officers."
“I’m very uncomfortable, especially with it showing up in my neighborhood,” said Valerie Duboise.
Neighbors watched as police hauled away the shell of the car; the driver was nowhere to be found.
“Knocked all the windows out, burned up in the front, the interior was all gutted, it was burning down to the tires," added Duboise. "There are big holes over there where it was. I’m glad it didn’t blow up. What a way to wake up this morning.”
Both the driver and passenger are still on the run. Investigators are not releasing any descriptions at this time.