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Belle Isle police officer recounts moment he was injured after traffic stop – WFTV

BELLE ISLE, Fla. — A Belle Isle police officer is reliving the night a traffic stop nearly took his life when a car carrying a trailer ended up on his chest.

Belle Isle Police Officer Zachary Mathews said pure adrenaline helped him lift the trailer off his chest and, miraculously, he was able to free himself.

Bodycam video of the incident, captured last week, shows the officer trying to stop the man he arrested when he was run over by the trailer.

The officer told Channel 9 all he could think about was getting free to help his partner.

Mathews said he stopped the suspect because his trailer lights weren’t working and he thought it would be a routine traffic stop.

Mathews recovers after dramatic encounter with suspect.

“You’re more in the moment of ‘what do I have to do to survive this,’” Mathews said.

Mathews said he has made more than 1,000 saves in just one year on the job.

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“But never anything like what happened this time,” he said.

On May 2, he stopped a suspicious vehicle and trailer. When the officer approached, he smelled marijuana coming from the van. Mathews called for backup and the situation escalated.

“He started reaching under the seats,” Mathews said. “We gave him a verbal order to stop. We asked him to get out of the vehicle and he became very angry and furious.

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There was a foot chase and a struggle, and Mathews was pushed to the ground.

The suspect’s vehicle began moving forward, with the trailer heading straight toward Mathews.

“The tire went over me,” he said. “The weight of a fully loaded trailer was on my chest. In the video you can hear gasps. This panting is me trying to get air.

Miraculously, Mathews escaped. He attributes his strength to his protective vest and his adrenaline. He caught up with the other officer and handcuffed the suspect.

Carlos Miller was arrested and faces several charges. Mathews said he was also in possession of a gun and a knife located under the seat where he was reaching.

“I suffered a broken back from the caravan running over me,” he said. “Also, a lot of muscle damage has been done to the majority of my body. It hurts to move just about anywhere.

He pushes and tolerates pain, and a walker is needed. But even then, he is grateful.

“Things could have been a lot worse,” Mathews said. “We’re glad it didn’t come to that.”

Mathews said he realizes the road to recovery will be long, but he is eager to return to the work he loves: protecting and serving the people of Belle Isle.

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