Northampton officer, other driver seriously injured in high-speed collision

  • A crash on Route 66 Jan. 30 left a Northampton police officer with a broken leg and the other driver with serious injuries. Image from Northampton Police Facebook page

  • A crash on Route 66 Jan. 30 left a Northampton police officer with a broken leg and the other driver with serious injuries. Image from Northampton Police Facebook page

  • A crash on Route 66 Jan. 30 left a Northampton police officer with a broken leg and the other driver with serious injuries. Image from Northampton Police Facebook page

Staff Writer
Published: 1/31/2021 2:53:58 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A Northampton police officer suffered a broken leg and a female driver was seriously injured Saturday night when the driver crashed into the officer’s cruiser at high speed, police said.

The accident took place at about 11:30 p.m. on Route 66 as Officer Matthew Knowlton was headed west, police said. According to police, Knowlton saw a car headed toward him in the opposite lane at high speed, and his radar check clocked the driver at more than 70 mph in a 35 mph-zone.

On the Police Department’s Facebook site, a post about the accident says that as the car approached Knowlton, “it crossed the double yellow lines entering his lane and striking his cruiser as he attempted to avoid the collision.”

Lt. Alan Borowski said the impact demolished both cars and left Knowlton with a broken leg. Despite that, Knowlton cut himself loose from his seat belt with a knife and climbed out of the driver’s side window, after which he went to the aid of the other motorist.

“He really was very heroic,” said Borowksi. “It’s very impressive what he did.”

The other driver, whom police did not identify, was not wearing a seat belt and suffered “serious injuries,” Borowski said. He said he did not know the full extent of those injuries but said they did not appear to be life-threatening.

Though Knowlton attended to the driver as best he could, Borowski said, she had to be extricated from her car by firefighters. Both she and Knowlton were then taken to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, and both remained there as of Sunday.

Photos taken at the crash site show the two cars about 10 feet apart, splayed diagonally across the road and facing the same direction. Their front ends are completely smashed in; smoke drifts through the scene.

Borowski said Knowlton’s cruiser briefly caught fire after the officer had gotten out of it.

The crash remains under investigation, Borowski said; it’s not yet known why the driver crossed into Knowlton’s lane. Criminal charges against the unidentified woman “are pending,” according to the department’s Facebook post.

In the meantime, Borowski said Knowlton, who’s been on the force for about a year, has all his colleagues thinking about him. “We wish him a speedy recovery,” he said.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.




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