Centennial Lakes Officer reflects after near miss with drunk driver on the side of the road

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A Centennial Lakes Police Officer says he’s lucky to be able to spend the holidays with his family this year after a very close call with a drunk driver Friday night.

Officer Brian Boetzke came within inches of being hit as he walked back to his patrol car.

Even scarier, the Centennial Lakes Police Department says they’re seeing more people this year who aren’t finding a sober ride home.

Goetzke had just reported for duty on Friday night when he conducted a traffic stop.

“I was finishing up a traffic stop, I stepped out over here and I looked over and I saw a vehicle approaching,” he said.

He had his car pulled over in the far right lane on Lake Drive in Circle Pines and his lights were on and flashing.

His seemingly normal shift then took a terrifying turn.

“So, I hestitated for a brief moment and realized that the car was not going to stop,” he recalled. “So, as he kept coming to me, the only thing I could do was turn like this and just stand up against the car and look and it was just that moment of pause and hesitation where, ‘Am I going to get hit or am I not going to get hit?’”

Goetzke has only been on patrol for six months, but his training kicked in even as he wondered what would happen next.

“It was a brief moment of almost terror,” he said. “You feel you don’t know what’s going to happen, but then it’s back into the car and you’re trying to catch up to this guy to stop him.”

He said that dying went through his mind.

“It’s so quick. It races through your mind of the possibility of what could happen,” he said.

Thankfully, Goetzke didn’t get hit and he kept focused on his next task: getting that driver off the road.

“My first question to him was, ‘Did you see me? Did you see my police car? Did you see all the lights flashing?’” Goetzke recalled. “And he had absolutely no idea he had passed a fully-marked police car with all the lights on.”

The driver’s blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit and he was arrested for drunk driving.

“It’s a close call and a terrifying incident on my end but ultimately I wasn’t injured and we got him off the road, that’s the thing that’s most important,” Goetzke said.

To show how bad the problem is, Goetzke said soon after he started his shift last night, he pulled over a drunk driver who was four times over the legal limit.

The Centennial Lakes Police Department urges everyone to call a friend, a cab or a ride-sharing service if you drink and can’t drive.