Dash cam video released of officer nearly killed in crash during - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: No criminal charges recommended for driver who hit officer's SUV

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Eau Claire County (WQOW) - Investigators believe an Indiana driver fell asleep right before he drove into an SUV belonging to the Augusta Police Department.

The crash happened on Saturday.  Augusta Officer Dane Wisniewski had just made a routine traffic stop when his SUV was hit.  Luckily, he was not seriously hurt.

The Eau Claire County Sheriff's Office says the driver who crashed into the officer's squad was ticketed for unreasonable/imprudent speed and operating left of center, but no criminal charges will be recommended.  The driver is 71 years old and told law enforcement he did not know what happened.  Investigators will recommend that he be re-examined by the Indiana DMV.

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Augusta (WQOW) - Video released on Tuesday shows just how close an area officer came to possibly losing his life.

On Saturday afternoon, a routine traffic stop by Augusta Police Officer Dane Wisniewski suddenly went bad when an oncoming car veered across the center line and hit the officer's SUV.

"The first time I saw this, the hair on the back of my neck stood up," said Augusta Chief of Police Mike Mosley.  Mosley says Wisniewski did everything by the book, including parking his squad car at an angle and checking traffic before walking back to his vehicle.

Chief Mosley believes Wisniewski was in a state of shock, but says he maintained his composure, checking on the condition of the other driver, and asking concerned motorists to clear the road to prevent another crash.

Mosley says if Wisniewski had taken just several seconds longer to get into his vehicle, things could have been so much worse.  "It could have been terrible.  I could have been making a call to parents and loved ones of an officer killed," Mosley said.

Chief Mosley says Wisniewski suffered strained muscles, neck and back pain, and bumps and bruises, but amazingly, did not need to be hospitalized.  He hopes the officer will return to work in a week or two.  In the meantime, he hopes the video of the crash will be used as a training tool for other officers.

"I hope they reflect on, and learn something by watching this, to make sure we do it safely.  At any given time, things can go terribly bad and this is one of them... but the officer will return to work, we will get a new squad, and we'll move on from here," said Mosley.

The sheriff's department is still investigating what caused the driver to cross the center line. Officials are speculating that driver fatigue may have been a factor.

The driver, a 71-year-old from Indiana, had been at a funeral in Ladysmith not long before the crash happened.  He was not hurt.

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