JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) – A Jeffersonville, Indiana police officer and another driver were whisked away by ambulance after their cars collided while the officer was heading to a call about a bank robbery.
"We heard sirens running straight down Main Street," Ken Addison said after witnessing the crash.
The head-on crash happened at 10th and Main just minutes after the Your Community Bank branch in the 2900 block of E. 10th Street was robbed.
"I turned and I was like ‘Aw man,'" said Eric McLean, another witness to the crash.
The mangled police car was driven by Officer Robert Grinestaff, a three year veteran of the department.
"This is always something that can happen," said Det. Sergeant Todd Hollis, a Jeffersonville Police spokesman, "It's the risk of the job."
Authorities believe Grinestaff's lights and sirens were on while he cleared the way for the officers rushing to get to the bank. That's when police say the patrol car was hit by a red Honda before slamming into a pole.
"It happened really quick," Addison said. "I mean, we were all in shock and panic, you know."
The driver of the Honda, Mary Love Thornton, 47, of Charlestown, Indiana, was alert after the crash. Officers at the scene said her injuries did not appear life-threatening.
"Everybody ran across the street to check on her," Addison recalled.
Grinestaff and Thornton were both taken to University of Louisville Hospital. Grinestaff received an escort into the emergency room by fellow officers.
During the chaos of the crash, the bank robber was busy running away. Authorities tell us he showed the teller a note claiming he had a gun, all while surveillance cameras rolled.
"It don't make me feel safe, knowing that someone is out there robbing people," McLean said.
Police say they were flooded with phone calls after the suspect's picture was broadcast on television. While police say they are closing in on leads, they have not released his name or said if he is connected to any other recent robberies.
Grinestaff was released from the hospital Monday evening.