Bystander stops driver from escaping after Rock Hill officer struck

Photo Courtesy of Noah Brooks

ST. LOUIS COUNTY ( -- After a Rock Hill police officer was struck by a vehicle in Kirkwood on February 7, a bystander, who kept the driver from running from the scene of the crash, spoke out about what he witnessed.

Chris McKnight and his co-workers were just feet from being hit by the suspect’s car.

"At first I thought we were probably going to get killed. We were just frightened," said McKnight.

Around 11:30 a.m., Officer Steven Sperber responded to a suspicious vehicle call in the 800 block of Tavalon in Rock Hill. While getting out of his vehicle, Sperber was struck by an oncoming car, which fled the scene and crashed on Manchester Road, about a mile west of the Tavalon and Manchester intersection.

According to police, the vehicle was weaving in and out of traffic, which eventually resulted in the driver losing control of the vehicle and striking the utility pole.

McKnight described what he saw after the driver crashed into the pole.

"The other passengers got out the car. Then the driver was trying to get out like he was trying to escape. I went over and told him to, 'be calm, be calm.' He said, 'no, I've got to go.' Then I held him so he could not get out," said McKnight.

When he told the driver he could not get out, McKnight says he did not know the car had just tried to run over a Rock Hill police officer a mile up the street. McKnight says all he knew was two teenagers got out and ran away.

"If they're crazy enough to try to run over a police officer, they didn't have any respect for life period," said McKnight.

The vehicle, a Pontiac G6, was carrying four occupants, two adults and two juveniles. Both adults are in serious condition at a hospital. Both have had charges filed against them.

The two juveniles were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and later released. They have been referred to juvenile court, but authorities say they do not expect to charge either with a crime.

Sperber was taken to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening head injuries and was released Wednesday.

Hacienda Mexican Restaurant located at 9748 Manchester Road will be donating 100 percent of all gift certificate sales from February 8 until February 14 to assist Officer Sperber.

A GoFundMe account has been started to help Officer Sperber.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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