A Greene County Sheriff's Department deputy apparently fell a sleep at the wheel early Thursday morning and wrecked his police vehicle.
The accident occurred on State Road 54 near the intersection with County Road 625E in Center Township.
Deputy Brad Deckard, 28, of Bloomfield, was traveling west about 4:08 a.m. when he lost control of his 2007 Ford Explorer and struck a ditch, an embankment, and utility pole. His patrol vehicle came to rest on the driver's side and then caught fire, according to a news release issued by the sheriff's department.
Deckard was assisted from his vehicle by responding deputies.
"He was coming back from the east side of the county on patrol and he just fell asleep, I guess. That's what he said he did. He went into the curve and fell asleep," Sheriff Terry Pierce told the Greene County Daily World.
Chief Deputy Major Mike Hasler said the deputy was ending a third shift at 4 a.m. and was traveling back to the department's office in Bloomfield.
His 10-hour shift started at 6 p.m.
Deckard, who's been with the GCSD since May 2008, was not hurt. He was taken to IU Health Bloomington to be checked out, in accordance with department policy, Pierce said.
He was treated and released for minor abrasions and contusions, according to Major Hasler.
"Anytime these guys have crashes like that they are lucky to not come out with injuries," Sheriff Pierce pointed out. "These officers spend a majority of their time rolling on four wheels. We're very fortunate we don't have more accidents. We try to stay on top of it and make sure these guys are ready for their shift."
The vehicle was termed a "total loss" by Major Hasler.
The wreck caused a power outage in the area.
State Road 54 was closed for more than four hours while the fire was contained and utility service restored by crews from the Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC.
Also assisting at the scene were Greene County Ambulance Service, Center Township Fire Department, and Richland Township Fire Department.
The sheriff said his deputies are encouraged to get the proper amount of rest.
"There are agencies that work 12-hour shifts and this is why we don't work them. In jobs like we have you have to sleep. You can't get out there and be tired on shifts. We want our guys, when they are tired like that, to let us know and we'll pull them off of a shift," Sheriff Pierce stated.