Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Northlake Notes — March 2022

Northlake experienced a near-tragedy late last month when two on-duty police officers sustained significant injury while responding to a highway traffic accident.

On the morning of Feb. 24 conditions were difficult on surface roads in our area due to the cold weather and precipitation that had been falling throughout the previous day and night.

Image courtesy of the town of Northlake

Two of our officers were in their vehicles providing protection to a wrecker attempting to get two pickup trucks out of the ditch along I-35W near Texas Motor Speedway. A semi-truck approaching the scene jackknifed and rolled, impacting another motorist and both Northlake PD cruisers manned by our officers. Both vehicles were decimated in the impact and both officers injured, one critically. The other motorist escaped without any serious injuries. Upon examination of the scene by accident investigators it was clear that had the officers been anywhere outside or entering the vehicles they would have been unlikely to survive.

Officer Matthew Koeper’s vehicle was compacted from the rear while Officer Thomas Martinez’ vehicle was crushed from above and behind when the semi-trailer filled with frozen meat fell onto his vehicle burying it under the wreckage. It took some time for first responders to extract him from the vehicle, demonstrating the severity of the crash. Fortunately, Officer Koeper escaped with less severe injuries but still required transport to the hospital where he was released later that day.

No first responder agency can escape the likelihood that at some point injuries or worse will occur while serving the public. It is a constant worry for the responders themselves and for their families. It is the fact they continue to volunteer and serve in these roles that we hold them in such high regard and the reason it is our responsibility to see that they are provided with the best equipment, training, leadership and provision so that they can focus on keeping themselves and the public safe. We are reminded that other first responders in our area and around the State of Texas are not here today having been taken by COVID, crime or accidents. We are so grateful to God for his protection on our two officers in this instance.

The town of Northlake, our staff, council, residents and neighbors in towns around us wish to extend our appreciation and concern to our officers and their families and our constant prayers for their full and complete recoveries.

A special thanks also to the agencies who responded so quickly and professionally from Roanoke, Denton County, Flower Mound, the State of Texas and other agencies that stood by to assist if needed. The camaraderie and brotherhood between first responders when one is injured was on full display.

A long recovery is ahead for Officer Martinez due to the extent of his injuries who remains in the hospital as of the time this article was written.

Our first graduating class of the Northlake Citizens Police Academy stepped up immediately to organize several weeks of meals and monetary donations for both families. If you would like to be involved, please contact our Police Chief Robert Crawford via email at [email protected] or the Town of Northlake via our website to direct you to opportunities to contribute. Please keep all our first responders in your prayers and let them know your appreciation for their service.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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