ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – “I heard the tires squeal and the driver and I locked eyes and he struck me with his car,” said Sgt. Lynn Woodward, North County Police Cooperative.
Less than 24 hours after being struck by a car, officers with the North County Police Cooperative say they’ve located the driver and co-defendant.
Dennis Vehlewald, 22, has been charged with first-degree assault, armed criminal action, and resisting arrest. The second suspect, 25-year-old Corey Clasen, was charged with forgery and resisting arrest.
“I don’t really recall a lot after the accident but I’ve been told there were a lot of community members that were coming out to render aid, or to help with canvassing the area, were just keeping an eye on me,” Sgt. Woodard said.
Woodard says it’s proof that their community policing efforts are working and in turn that yields results.
Investigators were able to locate fake money, printing equipment, and the white sedan with the missing mirror that was broken off when Sgt. Woodard was hit. Police say the car had been reported stolen and there was a gun found inside.
“When community members do reach out and when they do come to the aid of an officer it helps us feel like what we’re doing is right,” he said.
This close call comes just eight months after Officer Michael Langsdorf was shot and killed in the line of duty. He was from the same department.
But Woodard says he doesn’t have any plans on turning in his badge.
“My oldest, he does understand to an extent; so you hug him tight, you give them kisses, and go back out,” he said.