45-year-old Sheridan area resident Jerry Lee Larsen was arrested after a traffic crash Thursday night. A media release from the Sheridan Police Department indicates that Larsen allegedly crashed his car into barricades at Main and Alger Streets, at approximately 7:30 pm Thursday evening. The temporary barricades had been erected by the City in order to detour traffic around the final 3rd Thursday event of 2010. Larsen was arrested and charged with DWUI.
City of Sheridan employee Ken Hirschman was manning a City Utilities Maintenance booth near the scene of the accident. Sheridan Media obtained his permission to use part of his eye-witness account of what happened.
He reports that he saw a car heading south on Main, and [the driver] did not see that Main Street was blocked off for the 3rd Thursday Street celebration. In an e-mail, Hirshman wrote, “In the second I realized what was about to happen, I heard a scream and the car’s breaks locked up. I stuck out my hand to warn [the victim and another woman with her], just as the car crashed through the barricade.”
Hirschman continues, “As the car came toward us, one barricade flew up and hit [the victim] in the head. My immediate reaction was to try and jump up onto the car before it hit me. I reached out in front of me to brace myself and the car came to a sliding stop with my hands on the hood. When the car stopped, [the victim] fell to the ground; I climbed over the hood of the car to help her and at this point I was unsure if the car actually ran her over or struck her, so when I got over the hood and told her not to move, the car suddenly went into reverse and the driver punched it. In an instant, the car was gone...”
Efforts by other City employees who were manning booths, and former City employees who were enjoying the evening, were heroic in stopping the car, as Hirschman next indicates.
“As I looked up toward the intersection, I saw other City employees run after the car, stop the car and pull out the driver...I could not believe my eyes when [one of them] actually went through the passenger side and others pulled him [the driver] out of the driver side...the driver was put under arrest for drunk driving and thank God it was not any worse! I just cannot stop thinking how close we all came to getting struck...”
The woman who was struck by the barricade was transported to Sheridan Memorial, where she was treated and released.
Larsen appeared in Sheridan's Municipal Court Friday morning and plead “Not Guilty” to the DWUI charge.