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Suspected drunken driver knocks down light poles, hits parked car, injures officer

SOUTH SALT LAKE — A suspected drunken driver in a stolen truck knocked down two light poles and a fire hydrant and nearly hit a South Salt Lake police officer on a motorcycle Monday.

Several hours later, the officer had one word for how he was feeling: "grateful."

Officer Corey Jorgensen was parked in the Harley-Davidson parking lot near 3000 South just before 7 a.m. when a man driving a Ford F-150 jumped the curb and hit two light poles and a fire hydrant, causing the hydrant to shatter and fly toward Jorgensen. The truck then crashed into a building and took out a gas line.

Shortly before the crash occurred, Kathy McCormick had pulled up next to the officer in her car to talk. Her car ended up blocking the bulk of the debris from the hydrant, police said. Were it not for McCormick and her car, Jorgensen believes, the story could have ended very differently.

"It probably saved my life today," Jorgensen said of McCormick's car.

Jorgensen jumped off his motorcycle to avoid being hit, but still received minor injuries when he was hit by one of the falling light poles, according to Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Nick Street. McCormick also received minor injuries.

"We were both very, very lucky," McCormick said. "God was looking out after us."

The driver of the F-150 got out of the truck after crashing into the building and ran, but was arrested a short time later, Street said. The man, whose name was not immediately released, was taken to a local hospital in serious condition.

Contributing: Dan Rascon, Gretel Kauffman