On October 7, 2017 at approximately 6:18 a.m. Ohio State Highway Patrol Sergeant Robert Burd responded to reports of a wrong-way driver on Interstate 71 in Greene County. Another officer had already located the vehicle and himself narrowly avoided a head-on collision, and Burd was en route to assist.
Sgt. Burd entered I-71 northbound near milepost 58 and immediately began slowing northbound traffic behind him. Observing the wrong-way vehicle coming toward him in the number one lane, Sgt. Burd began flashing his spotlight at the vehicle in an attempt to signal its driver to stop.
As the vehicle approached, however, its driver accelerated and attempted to pass him on the left. Burd, knowing the danger and potential consequences of allowing the vehicle to pass him, steered into the path of the wrong-way vehicle and intentionally accelerated into it.
When that contact failed to disable the wrong-way vehicle, Sgt. Burd immediately turned around and struck the vehicle a second time, attempting to force it into the median. The wrong-way driver again accelerated, this time spinning around the front of Burd’s cruiser. The driver tried to avoid Burd, drove across the median, and attempted to continue in the wrong direction.
Sgt. Burd crossed the median, got ahead of the vehicle and attempted to cut it off. Not ready to give up, the vehicle accelerated and rammed into the front-left of Burd’s cruiser, pushing the vehicle sideways. As the suspect driver continued to attempt to accelerate, spinning and smoking his tires, Burd exited his patrol vehicle, pulled the driver from the vehicle…. and…. discovered that the guy was 79 years old and suffering from dementia.
The driver was transported to the hospital and was cited for reckless operation of a motor vehicle; Sergeant Burd received an award.