Officer falls, breaks leg

Published 9:28 am Friday, July 31, 2009

BERRIEN SPRINGS – On Wednesday  at 5:49 p.m., Berrien Springs Oronoko Twp Police Department was conducting a traffic enforcement detail on the US 31 By-Pass.

The department throughout the day had been conducting various traffic enforcement initiatives in the Berrien Springs/Oronoko Twp area; seatbelt enforcement zones; speed enforcement zones and commercial motor carrier enforcement.

At the time this accident occurred the officers were conducting speed enforcement on the US 31 By-Pass 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 US 31; and was sitting on the cement overpass bridge abutment for Snow Road.

Officer Venno went to adjust his positioning and while doing so fell off of the cement abutment, falling towards the By-Pass; hitting another cement ledge approximately 5 feet down and continuing to fall until he hit the ground under the Snow Road overpass.
Officer 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 that were waiting on the northbound entrance ramp for speed violators immediately responded to Officer Venno. Upon their arrival they were able to see that Officer Venno had broken his left leg during the fall, at which time they provided emergency medical assistance.

Officer Venno was transported to Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph where he underwent emergency surgery. He remains in the hospital at this time with another surgery scheduled today.

It is expected that Officer Venno will be off of work for four to six  months while recovering.

The investigation determined that Officer Venno fell approximately 25 feet to the ground.
Officer Venno sustained a broken tibula and fibula to his left leg with a compound fracture, where the bones were protruding out thru the skin.

This was an unfortunate and freakish accident and we are thankful that Officer Venno was not hurt worse than he was.

The BSOTPD wishes to thank all the citizens that stopped to offer their help and to all of the police officers from the many agencies that also responded to assist.