A Smithfield police officer who fell asleep at the wheel of his patrol car and collided with a utility pole will not face any traffic charges. The accident caused approximately $7,000 in damage to the marked police cruiser.
The mishap was reported Friday, July 23rd around 4:25am on South Fourth Street near E. Johnston Street. According to an accident report, Officer C.E. VanHalen was traveling north on South Fourth Street in a 2017 Dodge Charger when he admitted to falling asleep and running off the roadway. The car ran onto the curb and the front right side of the cruiser struck a utility pole.
Officer VanHalen was not injured. There were no passengers in the patrol car and no other vehicles involved. There was no damage to the utility pole, owned by the Town of Smithfield.
Police Chief Keith Powell said Monday the incident was being handled internally as a personnel matter.
According to the report, the officer was traveling at 15mph when the collision occurred. There were no tire impressions or skid marks prior to impact. The patrol car traveled 5 feet after hitting the light pole. The officer was wearing his seat belt.