FORESTVILLE, Md. (WUSA9) -- A Prince George's County police officer is in serious condition at Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly after being hit by a minivan during a routine traffic stop.
It happened around 9 a.m. Thursday on Pennsylvania Avenue near Walters Lane in Forestville.
This officer, Bashua Olaseha, 26, an Iraq war veteran, and had just started with Prince George's County Police. He had been in the current job for only a year and a half. He is extremely lucky to be alive. His quick action is what saved him. He dove into a ditch right before the minivan hit him.
Olaseha was in the intensive care unit at a local hospital until Tuesday, according to Prince George's County police. His condition is continuing to improve.
Prince George's County Police Chief Mark Magaw says his rookie officer dove into a ditch, just before the minivan ended up on top of him. Prince George's County Police tweeted a picture showing just how shallow that ditch is. The officer was trapped underneath the minivan for several minutes.
"By the Grace of God he survived this incident. You can see the depression where his body was. The ground was wet and allowed him to sink into the soil instead of taking a direct impact of the engine of this minivan," Magaw says.
Three officers including the injured had made a traffic stop on Pennsylvania Ave in Forestville. They turned back to get into their cars when they saw the black minivan barreling toward them in the shoulder lane. All three tried to jump out of the way. The other two officers were not injured. The woman who had been stopped by the officers got out and administered first aid. Others jumped into action using airbags to raise the minivan off of the officer.
Dean Jones, FOP President of Lodge 89 says, "incidents like these show how dangerous our work that we do is."
Police do not know how fast the minivan was going but the force of the impact was enough to destroy three crown Vics. They also are trying to figure out what caused the driver to leave the lanes of traffic. They don't know if it could have been a medical condition, distracted driving or something else.
On Thursday night, officials said he is listed in serious condition at Prince George's Hospital Center.
Hundreds of sworn officers have been coming to Prince George's Hospital Center for support and pray for the injured officer. They have received text messages and phone calls from all over the country including from the Maryland's Governor's office other fire and police departments.
Chief Magaw says this could have easily been a fatality. Magaw says they have lost three officers in the past several years and says this was a harrowing event.