A North Wilkesboro Police Department patrol car making a U-turn to pursue a vehicle traveling at an excessive speed collided with a Toyota 4Runner on West D Street in North Wilkesboro Sunday afternoon, said Police Chief Joe Rankin.
Officer Nathan Reavis was eastbound in the inside lane of four-lane West D Street when he determined that a westbound vehicle was speeding by clocking it with his radar device, said Rankin.
The Toyota was also eastbound but in the outside lane when the right front quarter panel of Reavis’ marked 2016 Dodge police car hit the Toyota’s left side as he made the U-turn, said Rankin. The impact forced the Toyota, driven by Mario R. Lopez, 33, of North Wilkesboro, onto its side.
Reavis let four vehicles pass before making the U-turn and thought the way was clear when he turned, said Rankin, adding that he didn’t see the Toyota because it was in his blind spot.
Wilkes Emergency Medical Services transported Lopez and two passengers in the Toyota, Bryanna Niz, 10, and Carina Niz, 15, to Wilkes Medical Center. Wilkes EMS also took Reavis to the hospital. Rankin said they all were treated and released.
North Wilkesboro Fire Department first responders removed people from the Toyota. The Wilkesboro Fire Department assisted with traffic control.
Rankin said Reavis is still on duty as the investigation into the incident continues. It occurred about 3:30 p.m. near where Magnolia Street intersects with West D Street, which is just west of Classic Toyota.