Driver hits officer helping woman in snow

Mattawan Police Officer Brian Matyas (file photo)

MATTAWAN, Mich. (WOOD) — Two people were injured, including a police officer, after a driver ran into them while the officer was attempting to help an elderly woman who was laying on the side of the road.

Mattawan Police Officer Brian Matyas stopped to help a 74-year-old woman who was laying in the snow on Cole Avenue just east of 25th Street in Mattawan around 2:38 a.m. Tuesday. Family told police the woman has dementia, and her son had put her to bed the night before and woke up around 3 a.m. to find her missing.

A police officer and an elderly woman were hit by an oncoming car in Mattawan. (Nov. 18, 2014)While waiting for an ambulance, a westbound vehicle driven by a 25-year-old Mattawan woman hit both Matyas and the 74-year-old. It was snowing at the time of the crash, according to police.

Matyas suffered minor injuries and bruising. He was treated for his injuries and released from the hospital.

The 74-year-old woman sustained only minor injuries in the crash. She was taken to Bronson Hospital, released and then moved to another hospital for treatment of her dementia.

She was not dressed appropriately for the weather at the time of the crash. She was wearing a sweatshirt, but not a coat, hat or gloves. It’s unclear how long she had been outside. Police say Matyas saved her life — she could have lain in the snow all night if he hadn’t come along.

The emergency flashing lights on Matyas’ patrol vehicle were not on at the time of the crash. The chief of police in Mattawan told 24 Hour News 8 it’s up to officers to decide when to activate their lights.

The crash remains under investigation by the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office. Once the investigation has been completed it will be forwarded to the Van Buren County Prosecutor’s Office where they will decide if the driver will face any charges.

Neither alcohol nor speed are believed to be factors in the crash. The woman driving the car that struck Matyas and the 74-year-old was not arrested.

Matyas was expected to return to work Tuesday night.

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