Davenport Officer hit by alleged DUI driver

The driver was on the wrong side of the road when he hit a police officer patrolling the area.

DAVENPORT, Fla. – A drunk driver without a license drove away after colliding with an officer’s vehicle while driving on the wrong side of the road, according to the Davenport Police Department.

The department said in a news release that the crash occurred just after 1:30 a.m. Sunday on South Boulevard. Police say 21-year-old Jose Enrique Hernandez-Gonzales struck the front of Davenport Officer Gerald Michel’s patrol car while traveling west in the eastbound lane.

Michel swerved off the road to avoid a head-on collision, but was still struck by the vehicle.

Police said Hernandez-Gonzales drove away immediately after the crash. He was found at 1:44 a.m. on Highway 17/92 at Providence Boulevard in Davenport.

The left side of the truck struck the side of the police car, scraping the entire passenger side. The airbags in the police vehicle most likely deployed.

According to authorities, Hernandez-Gonzales admitted he hit “something hard” with his vehicle, but he didn’t know what it was, so he didn’t stop to check. He also admitted drinking alcoholic beverages at a family party shortly before leaving.

Hernandez-Gonzales was arrested by Davenport police and charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in property damage. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office also charged him with driving under the influence and operating a motor vehicle without a license.

Michel and Hernandez-Gonzales escaped the crash unscathed.

“We are grateful that Officer Michel was not injured as a result of Hernandez-Gonzalez’s selfish actions of driving under the influence and driving without a license,” Davenport Police Chief Steve Parker said in a statement. “This event certainly could have ended much worse.

“It’s a very simple concept: don’t drink and drive.”