Police car in pursuit
ID: MRC-01-0078
Format: SD

WS POV SHAKY Police car in pursuit, falling off overpass / Peoria, Illinois, USA<br /><br />Cop while answering call drives his cruiser off an overpass that was under construction....,December 3, 2002 Tuesday,Officials map out plan to prevent cars from driving off the edge of overpass,BODY:,Broken glass and a faint set of tire tracks are the only telltale signs that a Peoria police officer drove off the Forrest Hill Avenue overpass Saturday.,Police and Illinois Department of Transportation officials met Tuesday to discuss what they could do to prevent another accident like that one from happenning.,"Our main concern is that the barricades remain up," said IDOT spokesman Mike Monseur. "They were there when we left ... apparently someone said they noticed some of the barricades down Saturday, but no one reported it. This is vandalism, and a very dangerous thing." Barricades that were supposed to block the gaping hole where the Forrest Hill Avenue bridge over Interstate 74 used to be were apparently off to the side of the road when Officer Shannon Parnell drove off the embankment and dropped down into a ditch along the highway shortly before 8 p.m. Saturday.,Police Lt. Steve Peterson said their investigation, which included viewing the recording from the video camera in Parnell's squad car, showed a direct path through the construction zone and to the end of the roadway.,"He went straight through," Peterson said.,Since the accident, orange plastic fencing, additional barricades and a mound of sand have been placed on the road to prevent another accident.,Officials also plan to add barrels of sand, more rigid barricades and a large electronic message board to both sides of the interstate overpass by the end of the week, Monseur said.,Further, police and IDOT workers will inspect the site regularly, including nights, weekends and holidays. Anyone who sees someone tampering or moving barricades is asked to call police or IDOT.,Parnell, who has been on the force for approximately a year and a half, was traveling east on Forrest Hill Avenue with his sirens on and lights flashing in order to back up another officer who had requested an additional officer for a traffic stop.,Parnell was supposed to be released from OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Tuesday, with his jaw wired shut for maybe up to six weeks, Peterson said. Police have ruled out that he was impaired in any way during the accident.,The Forrest Hill Avenue bridge over I-74, between Dries Lane and Easton Place, has been removed and the area closed since mid-October. It will remain closed until at least June 2003 to allow for preparatory work related to a pending interstate overhaul. Through traffic is detoured to War Memorial Drive or Gale Avenue.