OKEECHOBEE — While attempting to get through the main traffic signal to help with a traffic crash, City Police Officer Ramon Liberato was involved in a traffic crash of his own. On Friday, Dec. 4, just before 11 p.m., Officer Liberato was dispatched to assist with a traffic crash. He was at the main light at State Road 70 and U.S. 441 in the left most lane on U.S. 441 South when he activated his lights and siren. Once traffic came to a halt, he turned left onto State Road 70, and just as he centered his car in the lane, he felt a push on the rear of his vehicle.
James Wright, 62, U.S. 441 North, was driving a Dodge Ram pickup truck traveling west on State Road 70 and reportedly struck the back of Officer Liberato’s vehicle. According to Wright, he had a green light and saw red and blue flashing lights behind and him and attempted to go faster to clear the intersection and allow the officer to get past him. He said he heard a thump and pulled in behind the officer to see what happened.
A witness to the accident agreed that Officer Liberato had cleared the traffic signal and was in the far left lane when he was struck by the truck.
Wright was reportedly unable to pass field sobriety tests and a search of his person located a small bag of crack cocaine. He was charged with DUI with damage to property and with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. Bond was set at $10,000.