Dramatic video: Deputy struck by suspected drunk driver

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Shocking dash cam video released Thursday shows what deputies said was a drunk driver who ended up injuring one of their own. Fortunately, the Gwinnett County deputy made it through without serious injuries.

Arnoldo Mendez Escobar, 33, had three other people in the car with him with at the time, but thankfully no one was hurt. He was charged with a DUI and texting while driving, among other charges.

It happened Monday on Interstate 85 near Steve Reynolds Boulevard. Gwinnett County Deputy Thomas Tharp was sitting his patrol car testing out a license plate recognition system when authorities said he almost lost his life.

Deputies said Escobar was speeding in an SUV when he slammed right into Deputy Tharp's car. Deputy Shannon Volkodov cringes every time she sees the video. She can’t believe anyone could have survived the wreck. Volkodov also is upset that the whole thing was perfectly avoidable.

This isn’t the first time a deputy in a stationary vehicle along I-85 was struck by a suspected drunk driver in Gwinnett County. Four years ago, another deputy was sideswiped by a suspected drunk driver and I both incidents, the drivers advised investigators they were distracted by their phones.

Authorities said Escobar also violated a license restriction.

As for Deputy Tharp, he took one day off after the crash and returned to work.