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Near miss: Officer jumps away from vehicle, into spotlight

By David Talley | Published Saturday, July 15, 2017
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Fast Feet

FAST FEET – Bridgeport Police Officer Cpl. Richard Taylor dodges a wrong-way driver during a traffic stop captured on video by his dashboard camera Friday. The video has gained viral status online and is also slated for potential use as a training video for other officers.

A Bridgeport Police officer’s quick feet earned the department online attention, but it’s his cool attitude and professionalism that Police Chief Steve Stanford said are worth more than that.

The department Monday posted a video on Facebook of Cpl. Richard Taylor initiating a traffic stop on a vehicle that had run a red light on Texas 101 south of U.S. 380.

The video shows Taylor approaching the driver’s side of the vehicle he stopped, and an oncoming vehicle’s headlights can be seen passing through the Farm Road 1658 intersection. The oncoming vehicle is headed toward the traffic stop but driving in the wrong lane.

As the vehicle continues to approach, Taylor sees it and asks the driver he first pulled over if he knows the oncoming car.

“[Taylor] saw it initially when he looked up, and he’s thinking it’s this young man’s mother or a family member coming to talk to him or support him in his traffic stop, and that’s why he said, ‘who’s this?'” Stanford said. “He noticed that they weren’t slowing down, and they were continuing to drive toward him, and so that’s when he thought, ‘man, what’s going on?’ So he starts flashing his lights back and forth, trying to get the vehicle to see him.”

But the oncoming vehicle doesn’t see him. It passes too close, nearly sideswiping both vehicles as Taylor scrambles for cover behind the car he’d pulled over.

He returns the driver’s license to the first person he pulled over and sets off in pursuit of the wrong-way driver. The video ends there, but Stanford said Taylor stopped the vehicle after it turned right on U.S. 380 toward Decatur.

“The guy, he had no clue of what had just happened,” Stanford said. “He was completely unaware of any violation that had occurred. Cpl. Taylor was very professional with the guy and just tried to ask him what’s going on. He had no idea he almost hit the officer.”

Stanford said Taylor explained the situation to the driver, who admitted to having several drinks at a Fuzzy’s in Flower Mound before getting behind the wheel. However, Stanford said the driver passed a field sobriety test. The chief said that’s where Taylor’s professionalism came into play.

“After several minutes of a field sobriety test, he didn’t get enough clues to take the guy to jail for a DWI,” Stanford said. “Again, I think that shows maturity and wisdom on Cpl. Taylor’s part. He could have very easily, mistakenly, arrested this guy for a DWI, but by law he wasn’t intoxicated where he was unaware of his surroundings.”

Stanford said the wrong-way driver’s license had been suspended for a previous DWI. He was charged with that offense and the wrong-way violation and arrested.

In addition to being contacted for use of the video by several media outlets, Stanford said the department has also gotten requests from several police, EMS and firefighter training services for use of the video.

“I was really proud of Taylor and his demeanor throughout the whole process,” Stanford said. “He didn’t take it personal, he addressed the issues and gathered the evidence that was present. He made a decision since the guy wasn’t intoxicated by the result of his sobriety test to just take him to jail for those other two violations, which, in my eyes was a great decision.

“He got the guy off the street and no one got hurt.”

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