Police: Driver involved in crash that injured Morrisville police officer had DUI warrants

Authorities say Corporal Bill Smith was helping a disabled driver when the crash occurred.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Police: Driver involved in crash that injured officer had DUI warrants
A Bucks County police officer injured on the job is out of the hospital and recovering after his vehicle was struck from behind.

MORRISVILLE, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A Bucks County police officer injured on the job is out of the hospital and recovering after his vehicle was struck from behind.

It was around 8:20 p.m. Monday night when Morrisville and Falls Township officers responded to a disabled motorist on Route 1 near Pennsylvania Avenue.

Among those on the scene was Corporal Bill Smith of the Morrisville Borough Police Department, who was inside his police vehicle.

Morrisville Police Corporal Bill Smith was hospitalized on Monday night following a multi-vehicle crash.
Corporal Bill Smith

"He blocked the right-hand side because it's only two lanes there. There's not even a shoulder. So he blocked it with his lights on," said Chief George McClay of the Morrisville Borough Police Department. "This car came over the Route 1 bridge, probably traveling between 60-70 miles an hour, struck the rear of the car. Luckily the officer had a seatbelt on."

Cpl. Smith was taken to a hospital for neck, back and head injuries and was released overnight.

Police say the driver was Juan Martinez, 41, who had two outstanding warrants, including failure to appear in court for a fourth DUI out of Bucks County.

Police do not suspect that Martinez was driving under the influence Monday night, but he was cited for speeding, careless driving and driving with a suspended license.

Chopper 6 over crash involving Morrisville police SUV on September 18, 2023.

"There was some kind of distracted driving going on here. And if the police hadn't been on scene, what could've happened to that motorist?" said Falls Township Police Chief Nelson Whitney. "Especially if they were there by themselves, maybe outside their vehicle."

In 2021, Pennsylvania's Move Over law went into effect. Those who do not move over or slow down when approaching an emergency on the road face stiff fines: $500 for the first offense, $1,000 for the second and $2,000 for the third.

There are additional fines of up to $10,000 for those who injure or kill an emergency service responder or a person in or near a disabled vehicle.

If you can't move over, slow down.

"It's a dangerous part of the highway there. But we get up there and help to save a motorist, and in turn, this is what we get," said McClay.

Martinez was sent to the Bucks County Prison because of the outstanding warrants.

Police are still investigating exactly what led to this crash.

Morrisville police expect Cpl. Smith to be back at work in about a week.