OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- A Johnson County sheriff’s deputy had quite the scare during a recent routine traffic stop.
Deputy Tim Purdin pulled a driver over for speeding over the weekend, near 179th and 69 Highway. He was talking with the driver on the side of the road when a white van came flying past him, narrowly missing him.
“I’m 100% sure he was going a lot faster than the speed limit,” Purdin said. “By the time I realized what was going on, the vehicle was already there and had passed me.”
The scary encounter was caught on Purdin’s dash camera.
“When I watch the video, it shocks my conscious how close it was, and you just thank the Lord you were able to go home that night,” he said.
Unfortunately, Purdin said the close calls happen all the time. This latest incident was the second of its kind for Purdin in the last month.
“I just had enough, and I had good video of it. And I thought maybe if the public saw it, they might realize just how dangerous our job is on the side of the road,” he said.
The close call near 179th and 69 Highway also happens to be about 5 miles from Purdin’s friend and colleague Deputy Brandon Collins was killed in 2016.
“It was a routine traffic stop and he was struck from the rear by a passing motorist,” Purdin explained. “An officer doing his job, just trying to make the community safe, and he’s killed by a passing motorist.
Both Kansas and Missouri have laws that require drivers to either move over and/or slow down when they see emergency vehicles on the side of the road with lights flashing.
“To slow down from 60 miles an hour to 15 to pass [emergency vehicles], that’s going to take 45 seconds out of your day and is 45 seconds out of your day that more important than me getting home,” Purdin said.
Purdin pleaded for drives to use caution when they see law enforcement, emergency workers and even construction workers stopped on the roadways.
“Just slowing down when you see us on the side of the road, giving us a little bit of room to work, we really appreciate that, our families appreciate that,” he said.
Last year, 50 officers were killed in traffic-related crashes, according to data gathered by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Of those fatalities, 14 officers were hit while outside of their vehicles. That’s a 56% increase from 2017.