Officers crashes into apartment while responding to call

Published 6:08 pm Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Selma police officer is recovering after crashing into an apartment Tuesday night while responding to a call of shots fired at a fellow officer.

Selma Police Chief Spencer Collier said the accident happened on Marie Foster Street at Rangedale Apartments while officer Benjamin Ball was responding to back up another officer at George Washington Carver Homes between 11 p.m. and midnight.

“A group of people shot at one of our police officers,” Collier said Wednesday. “He was responding to that. He was running 10-17, so he was running lights and siren, and wrecked the car and went into that apartment complex.”

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Ball’s car struck an apartment just off the corner of Marie Foster Street and Kay Avenue, cracking the brick wall and the cinder blocks behind it. Onetta Glover and her family were home when it happened, but no one inside was injured.

“No one in the apartment was injured thank God, and then the officer had injuries. He had some broken bones and some lacerations,” Collier said. “If you look at the vehicle, you’d be surprised that there wasn’t a fatality. It’s amazing he lived through it.”

Collier said Ball was treated at Vaughan Regional Medical Center and released sometime Wednesday.

“It’s unfortunate, but it sometimes comes with the job. If a fellow officer is being shot at, you’re going to go as hard as you can go,” the chief said. “There’s never a wreck that is OK, but he was proper in the way he responded. Obviously, it led to a crash … but if you’re working hard and doing your job and going to back up and an officer in a life or death situation, in this job you’re going to crash at times.”

The shots fired call came in while an officer was responding to a group of people that were suspected of drinking and smoking marijuana outside at GWC Homes.

“An officer was on regular patrol, and he patrolled through GWC. There was a group outside. He could smell the odor of marijuana, and they were drinking, which is prohibited there,” Collier said. “He approached them and half the group fled on foot. He was interviewing the other half when he started getting gunfire from the woods they ran into.”

Collier said it was a blessing the officer wasn’t shot, and shooting at an officer is something the department is not going to put up with.

“Shooting at anyone is horrible, but shooting at an officer is just not something we’re going to tolerate. I’ve assigned additional detectives, and it is priority number one right now for us,” he said.

No suspects have been identified, but Collier said if an arrest is made the person responsible could face an attempted murder of a law enforcement officer charge.

Glover, who was inside the apartment asleep when the patrol car crashed into the wall, had no idea what was happening just on the outside of her home.

“My daughter woke me up. She said she heard a hit, and that’s when I got out the bed, came to the front room, opened the front door, and I looked out and saw the police car,” she said Wednesday as she was preparing to move some her items out of her apartment for repairs.

“I was just wondering what happened. That’s all I was wondering. I found out my family was alright, so I was hoping he was alright too.”

Glover said the car hit the outside wall of the living room.

“My curio stand fell and broke everything, my TV was right here. It’s broke,” she said. “My son was sitting right there earlier. It’s good thing he got up because that would have hit him.”

Glover said her and her family spent the night at the apartment without power, but they will be moved out for nine to 10 days for repairs to be made to the building by the Public Housing Authority.