On Wednesday, Aug. 21 at approximately 11 p.m., officer Craig Walsh was on patrol in the Howard Johnson Hotel, located at 832 N. Black Horse Pike, when he observed a young male running from the hotel complex to the car that was parked in middle of the driveway with its lights off. The young male entered into the front passenger side of the car. As he observed this suspicious activity, Walsh pulled up and activated his emergency lights and approached the passenger side, as the passenger side door was still open. The vehicle was turned off and was occupied by another young male in the driver’s seat. While Walsh was speaking with the occupants, the driver suddenly started the car, put the car in reverse, and accelerated backwards. Walsh was instantly pinned in the open passenger side door, and he was dragged approximately 49 feet before the driver smashed into a tree, causing the car’s airbags to deploy. Walsh’s right foot was run over by the car.
Although he was injured, Walsh was able to still detain the two suspects, who were later identified as two 17-year-old males. Walsh was able to frantically call for assistance, and additional officers quickly arrived and took the two suspects into custody. A second officer injured his shoulder while removing one of the suspects out of the vehicle. Officer Walsh was transported to Cooper Hospital in Camden, suffering from bruising, and injuries to his head, arm, ankle and knee. The second officer was treated and cleared for duty. The driver of the vehicle was transported to the hospital as a precaution for minor injury from the crash, was treated and released, and was transported to the Camden County Juvenile Detention Center. The passenger was transported to the Camden County Juvenile Detention Center.
A search of the vehicle revealed 5.5 ounces of marijuana, a distribution scale and narcotics related packaging materials. This incident is being investigated by the Gloucester Township Police Department and the Camden County Prosecutors Office, and additional charges may be forthcoming.
A video surveillance camera at the Howard Johnson Hotel captured the incident, and shows how quickly this incident happened, and how close Walsh came to being killed or seriously injured. Chief Harry Earle stated, “This incident is a clear reminder of how the men and women of the Gloucester Township Police Department display the greatest courage and work selflessly in protecting the community. Their efforts have resulted in a significant reduction in crime and that is only because of the actions like Officer Walsh who dedicate himself to protecting others.”