Reporting John Lauritsen
COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) — A community service officer is out of the hospital and recovering Wednesday morning after she was hit by an SUV last weekend.
Harley Lenart works for the Coon Rapids Police Department. Saturday night, she was responding to a stalled vehicle along Highway 10 near Hanson Boulevard. As she was returning to her squad car, she was hit by a passing vehicle.
The driver fled the scene, and Lenart is now recovering from several injuries.
“I really just kind of want to know what happened and why,” Lenart said.
As an aspiring police officer, Lenart is trying to do everything by the book. So when she responded to a stranded vehicle on Saturday night, she pulled her patrol car onto the shoulder and left her lights on, just like she’s supposed to do.
But when Harley returned to her car after helping the stranded driver, she realized quickly just how dangerous this job can be.
“I got hit from behind into the door and then slammed my head on the pavement,” she said.
Harley said she believes the mirror from a black SUV passed too close to her car and hit her. Her shoulder slammed into the door and then she fell onto the road, hitting her head. She was able to crawl back into her car and radio for help.
If she wasn’t wearing a vest at the time of the incident, she might not have survived.
“I have left bruised ribs from the impact of where the vehicle was. My vest is what saved me. They think if I hadn’t had my vest, I would have broken ribs and punctured a lung,” Lenart said.
Instead, she’s expected to recover and eventually return to work. She feels lucky, but not scared.
“When people ask me if I’m okay I say I’m alive and breathing, and I made it home at some point at the end of the shift. That’s all that matters and all that I care about,” she said.
Lenart also suffered a concussion. Officials are offering a $500 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction. Police say the driver violated the “Ted Foss Move-Over Law,” which requires drivers to move over a full lane away from stopped emergency vehicles.