ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) -- A Round Rock police officer is in the hospital in serious condition after he was hit by a car while directing traffic around a crash scene early Sunday morning.
The driver who hit the officer is a 65-year-old man. He did stop at the scene, and police said they expect to charge that driver with intoxication assault.
Round Rock police said they originally received a call that someone was walking near Interstate 35 at 5:27 a.m. When officers arrived on scene, they found the body of Amir Azad, 25, lying on the interstate near Old Settlers Boulevard. Police believe Azad was hit by a driver who did not stop.
A little more than an hour later, RRPD said Officer Charles Whites, an 18-year veteran with the department, was directing traffic around the crash when he was hit by a car on the highway near Palm Valley Boulevard. Whites started with the department in April of 1999.
The Round Rock Police Officers Association posted on Facebook asking for the community's support. "Please be in prayer him, his family, and all of the Round Rock Officers," read the post.
Northbound lanes of I-35 were closed for more than seven hours During the shutdown, traffic was backed up past Hester's Crossing.
As crews were working both crashes, a lightning strike shocked two other officers and a support technician, police said. All three of them were also taken to the hospital.
The "Move Over Slow Down" law in Texas says drivers need to slow down to 20 miles under the speed limit or move over a lane when they see law enforcement, emergency vehicles, TxDOT crews and tow trucks stopped along the side of the road with their lights flashing. Violators can be fined up to $2,000.
Last November, a DPS trooper died after he was hit by a driver while he was working a traffic stop on I-35 near Temple. DPS said Sr. Trooper Thomas Nipper, 63, was inside his vehicle conducting a traffic stop on the southbound shoulder of the freeway when his patrol car was struck from behind by a driver in a Chevrolet pickup. The patrol car then caught on fire. Nipper died a short time later at the hospital.
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