A police officer was hurt early Wednesday morning after a woman rammed a stolen car into his squad three times. Berrien County Sheriff’s Deputy Ian Dodd went to the hospital with neck pain, but the sheriff said he returned to work Wednesday night.
Police received a report of a stolen car about 12:15 a.m Wednesday morning. Deputy Dodd saw the car on US 31 near Niles Buchanan Road a few minutes later.
Dodd attempted to pull over the car driven by Heather Godwin, 28, from Berrien Springs.
As Dodd was getting out of his squad car, Godwin put her car in reverse and slammed into the front of Dodd's vehicle two times before speeding off. She did that three times before speeding off.
A few minutes later she drove off the road into the median and then started going northbound in the southbound lane. She then turned around and pulled behind Dodd before ramming into the back of his squad car.
Dodd continued chasing Godwin into South Bend where she attempted to crash into a vehicle coming head on. She then pulled over, got out of the car and was arrested.
"When people are scared, as in this case I assume the suspect driving the car was, we don't know how they're going to react and that's something we have to be prepared for," says Captain Paul Toliver, Berrien County Sheriff’s Department. "Our officers go through a lot of training and because of that he was able to put himself in a position where he wasn't injured any worse."
Officer Dodd was given a CAT scan on his neck at an area hospital. Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey said after a day of resting, Dodd felt well enough to come to work Wednesday night.
Godwin was arrested on charges of driving a stolen vehicle, fleeing police causing injury and three counts of assault with a deadly weapon causing injury. She was taken to the St. Joseph County jail where she will await extradition to Berrien County.
Police said Godwin does not have a prior record in Berrien County. Officials confirmed she had alcohol in her system, but not enough to charge her with drinking and driving. She also did not have a driver's license.
"Not only did she run from the police but she rammed and intentionally tried to cause harm to that officer. I mean, there's no other way to look at it. Any time somebody takes the opportunity to cause harm to a police officer, what else are they capable of doing?" says Asst. Chief Bill Redman, St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department. "In this case here, she could have rammed another innocent person or somebody else out on the roadway, so it was certainly a dangerous situation for everybody."
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