A Starkville police officer was involved in an automobile accident today at 12:30 p.m. during what was believed to be a traffic stop on Garrard Road.
Officer Derek Nelson was transported to Oktibbeha County Hospital for observation after his vehicle hit a telephone pole and ran off an embankment causing the vehicle to roll over and flip.
Starkville Police Chief David Lindley confirmed Nelson suffered a concussion but no other serious injuries, and a neurologist will soon be monitoring him.
"It couldn't have been a worse place for him to run off the road. He hit a telephone and flipped over the shoulder of the road," Lindley said. "It looks like he is going to be OK, and that's the main concern. There was some discussion that he would either be transported to Jackson or Tupelo; they're doing that as a precaution."
Lindley said it is not known at this time how fast Nelson was going, as the accident is still under investigation.
"We're not sure of all the details at this time because (Nelson) was admitted," he said. "It appeared he was trying to make a traffic stop."
SPD has a mandatory seat belt policy which he said might have kept Nelson from being further harmed.
"He is very fortunate," Lindley said. "We believe that wearing a seat belt prevented serious injury.
Nelson was hired as an officer for SPD this past October and was introduced at the Dec. 6, 2011 Board of Aldermen meeting.
All SPD officers are on probation for one year at the point of being hired, Lindley said.