TACOMA, Wash. - Tacoma police are defending the officer who ran over a Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier lying in the road.
The soldier, 22-year-old Emanuel Andrade, is in critical condition at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma.
Infrared surveillance video shows the officer slowly starting, then stopping, before running over a white figure in the road.
“For anyone out there who thinks that would ever be intentional, I don’t know what kind of people that those are,” Tacoma Police Department spokesperson Loretta Cool cautioned that appearances can be deceiving.
She said Andrade was actually wearing a navy top and dark jeans and that the officer never saw him.
“The camera that captured that video is an infrared camera; whites are dark and darks are white,” she said.
Andrade's wife, Susana Andrade, said she doesn’t know how or why he ended up lying in the street.
She said the father of two is on a breathing tube with several broken bones and fractures. He cannot talk or open his eyes, she said, but he has squeezed her hand and cried when she talked to him.
“You could actually see blood coming out of his eyes,” she said.
Officials with Joint Base Lewis-McChord told KIRO 7 that Andrade is a member of the 7th Infantry Division's 2nd Stryker brigade.
He served in Afghanistan from April 2012 to January 2013 and received an Army Commendation Medal.
“I really want to know what happened that night and why things happened that way,” Susana Andrade said.
Cool said the officer, who was looking for car prowlers and stopping to check license plates, is so shaken up that police haven’t interviewed him yet about what happened early Saturday morning.
In the video, the officer gets out of his cruiser after running over Andrade and check him, then calls for help.
“I think it would be personally very devastating,” she said.
KIRO 7 asked if the officer was tested for any kind of impairment.
Cool said he was not impaired and has no issues in his seven-year history. He has been given a few days off work.
She said officers will talk to him and the Andrade family as part of the investigation.
They are not releasing his name at this point.