Cruiser design may have saved Columbus officer’s life

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — A Columbus police officer is recovering at home after investigators say his cruiser was hit by a drunk driver on I-670 Saturday night.

Officers now say that cruiser may be the reason Sergeant Benjamin Messerly is alive.

“We’ve had five crashes with this [type] of vehicle, when we’ve been rear-ended, and our officers have all walked away from them,” said Lieutenant Dave Hughes.

Messerly was inside a newer model Ford Explorer, specially equipped for police use.

That means his vehicle contained a crossbar and spare tire, designed to absorb a high-speed impact collision, protecting the officer.

“If a car should happen to be going 75 miles per hour and run into the back of one of our cruisers, it would protect the occupants inside the vehicle,” Hughes explained.

Lt. Hughes said the department is in the process of replacing all older vehicles with the newer Explorers.

Messerly is expected to return to work within the next couple of weeks.

Amber Marinello-Cabrera, who is accused of hitting him while intoxicated, is charged with aggravated vehicular assault. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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