Officer breaks leg in ‘freakish’ 25-foot fallPublished 9:13am Friday, July 31, 2009
At 5:49 p.m. Wednesday, July 29, Berrien Springs Oronoko Township Police Department was conducting a traffic enforcement detail on the U.S. 31 bypass.
The department throughout the day had been conducting various traffic enforcement initiatives in the Berrien Springs/ Oronoko Township area – seatbelt enforcement zones, speed enforcement zones and commercial motor carrier enforcement, according to Chief Milton A. Agay.
At the time this accident occurred the officers were conducting speed enforcement on the U.S. 31 bypass at Snow Road.
BSOTPD Officer Ryan Venno was conducting stationary speed enforcement with the Lidar (laser) speed measuring device and had taken up a position outside of his patrol vehicle on the shoulder side of the northbound lane of U.S. 31. He was sitting on the cement overpass bridge abutment for Snow Road.
Officer Venno went to adjust his positioning and while doing so fell off the cement abutment towards the bypass, hitting another cement ledge approximately five feet down and continuing to fall until he hit the ground under the Snow Road overpass.
Venno realized he was injured and was able to switch his portable radio to the emergency talk group and call Berrien County Dispatch for help.
BSOTPD officers who were waiting on the northbound entrance ramp for speed violators immediately responded to Venno.
Upon their arrival, they were able to see that Venno had broken his left leg during the fall, at which time they provided emergency medical assistance.
Venno was transported to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph, where he underwent emergency surgery.
He remains in the hospital, with another surgery scheduled for today.
Agay said it is expected that Venno fell approximately 25 feet to the ground.
Venno sustained a broken tibula and fibula to his left leg with a compound fracture.
Bones protruded out through his skin.
“This was an unfortunate and freakish accident,” Agay said, “and we are thankful that Officer Venno was not hurt worse.”