Less than 24 hours after a hit-and-run driver killed a Cleveland man on SH 105, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathon Walker was lucky to escape the same fate when a drunk driver plowed into his patrol vehicle on SH 242 and kept going.
At 2:20 a.m. on Monday, Walker notified dispatchers he was conducting a traffic stop on the eastbound shoulder of SH 242 near Sun View Lane. He took the driver’s documentation and returned to his vehicle where he realized the driver had not produced a Texas Driver’s License, according to Trooper Robert Oelsner with the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Walker was about to exit his vehicle and return to the stopped pickup to ask about the license when disaster struck. He told Oelsner he had his hand on the door and had opened it slightly when he looked back as a precaution.
“He saw the other vehicle coming from the rear, so he waited until that vehicle passed,” Oelsner said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t pass- it hit him.”
The door was ripped apart, sending debris in every direction. The driver of the 2002 Ford Explorer that struck Walker’s car continued eastbound.
At 2:24 a.m., Walker radioed dispatchers that his vehicle was struck. Another MCSO deputy who happened to be in the vicinity intercepted the suspect’s SUV between two and three miles past Walker’s damaged patrol car. It was enough time and distance for Walker to notify dispatchers and provide information that allowed the other deputy to respond and stop the vehicle.
“If that other deputy hadn’t been there, he probably wouldn’t have stopped,” Oelsner said.
The suspect failed a field sobriety test.
Mark Vogel, 27, who lives on Frye Road in Splendora is charged with driving while intoxicated and failure to stop and give information.
Oelsner took him into custody where he was stopped and then returned to the accident scene where Vogel quickly fell asleep in the patrol vehicle.
There were no injuries, but Oelsner said Walker was very shaken by the incident.
“It’s one of those things he didn’t expect,” Oelsner said. “He saw the vehicle and didn’t expect it to hit him.”
“If he would’ve jumped out of the car, he probably would have been hit.”
Bennette Fire Department responded and created a barrier between the crash site and the open lane of traffic while illuminating the area for investigation and safety purposes.