Pelham police officer hit by drunk driver as part of dangerous night on I-65
Published 3:25 pm Saturday, July 1, 2023
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
PELHAM – A dangerous stretch became life-threatening for one Pelham police officer during the early-morning hours of Saturday, July 1 when she was struck by a drunk driver while responding to an emergency situation on Interstate 65.
Still in her training phase, Pelham Police Department officer Elizabeth Minter was on the scene of an accident after a drunk driver was driving north up the southbound lane of I-65 near exit 242, known as the tank farm exit.
While trying to divert traffic with two other responding officers on the scene, another drunk driver going approximately 80 miles per hour hit Minter, throwing her several feet and seriously injuring her.
“Her gear was thrown across six lanes of traffic, she was knocked out of her boots from the point where she was struck,” Pelham Police Chief Brent Sugg said during a press conference on Saturday afternoon.
The three responding officers, including Minter, had lights activated, were wearing approved reflective gear and were using flashlights to manage the scene.
“She is struggling right now, here family is struggling, our department is struggling because this young officer was just doing her job,” Sugg said. “She was trying to divert traffic to prevent other people from being hurt by impaired drivers when she was hit.”
Minter was quickly attended to and transferred to UAB with numerous injuries. According to Sugg, she is currently conscious and alert in serious but stable condition awaiting surgery.
The vehicle’s driver was taken into custody by Pelham Police and troopers with ALEA. Both collisions are being investigated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.
“The Pelham Fire Department, Pelham Police, fire communications, Alabaster police, Alabaster fire and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office provided tremendous support during this event last night,” Sugg said.
The scary event came just hours after officers had to revive two drivers who had overdosed on fentanyl going southbound on I-65 near the same exit.
At approximately 4:57 p.m., Sugg said officers got reports of a vehicle driving into the center wall multiple times.
“By the time we got to the vehicle just south of county road 52, both the driver and the passenger, a father and a son, had overdosed on fentanyl,” Sugg said. “Officers administered multiple doses of Narcan, reviving both of them. Both subjects were transported to the hospital and later to jail.
“They were driving during rush hour traffic, and as most of you know, there is significant traffic on I-65 southbound on the weekend heading to the southern part of the state. There was significant risk to multiple drivers and both of those people were placed in jail.”
Sugg said the series of events deserves a response from all first responders, reminding people to enjoy an excellent weekend celebrating the Fourth of July, but to do so responsibly.
“Put your phone down, be responsible with your use of alcohol, avoid any illegal substances, use ride share programs and slow down,” he said. “All of these events had one thing in common and that was drugs and alcohol. Today, it was our family that was impacted, tomorrow, it may be your family. You need to hold yourself and others accountable so law enforcement will not have to hold you responsible.”
A GoFundMe page has been setup for the Minter family. She is a mother and provider for three children. For more information about helping, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-officer-minter?utm_campaign=p_lico+share-sheet&utm_location=FIRSTTIME&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer.
“A lot of people were really impacted by this,” Sugg said. “When I arrived here 10 weeks ago, a lot of people told me ‘This is the Pelham way.’ I didn’t really have a complete understanding of that, but today with the outreach from police departments, fire departments, communities and churches, every law enforcement in Shelby County has offered assistance. I now understand the Pelham way extends beyond this city.”