Payson Police officer Chad Deschaaf is recovering from injuries he suffered in a car accident that demolished his police vehicle Friday night.
Deschaaf, part of a new multi-agency drunk driving task force, was headed northbound on Highway 87, when Ed Taves, 72, of Payson pulled out from Phoenix Street in front of him, attempting to make a left turn onto the highway.
Deschaaf swerved to avoid the driver and crashed into a wall. His injuries were not life-threatening.
Because the investigation is ongoing, DPS officers cannot say definitively yet whether Taves was drunk.
"All I can say is that alcohol was involved," DPS Officer Jerom Lewis said. "Lab tests are being conducted."
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) was called in to investigate the accident since it involved an on-duty police officer. Accident investigators drove up from Globe and Phoenix.
"The driver failed to yield at the stop sign and pulled out in front of the officer," DPS Officer Terry Phillips said. "Deschaaf just barley nicked the silver Nissan truck and cut a hard right instead of going into oncoming traffic and went over the sidewalk, hit a stop sign and then impacted a block retaining wall."
Deschaaf sustained injuries to his knee and finger, and avoided further injury from the airbag deployment with some quick thinking.
"I knew it was coming so I sat back in my seat," Deschaaf said.
"I have a messed up knee, but I guess it's just bruised. They thought my finger was fractured, but it's just bruised, too," Deschaaf said. "My neck is a little stiff but that's about it."
Deschaaf was treated and released from the hospital later that night.
The other driver was not injured in the accident.
This was the first night for the new task force called Wolf Pack detail.
"That's the ironic thing is that we had started our multi-agency task force that night with DPS, Payson PD and sheriff's office and even the forest service law enforcement officers," Phillips said. "That was our whole goal that night --to go out and look for drunk drivers."