DANVILLE — A Danville police officer remains hospitalized at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana following an accident at the Fair Oaks public housing complex early Thursday morning.
Public Safety Director Larry Thomason said the officer suffered severe injuries to the face, nose and mouth after running into a metal cable clothesline while pursuing a battery suspect.
"He's OK," Thomason said, adding the officer will need surgery, but his injuries aren't life-threatening.
Thomason declined to identify the officer, but said he has been on the force since February 2008.
The accident occurred when police were called to an apartment in the 1600 block of East Fairchild Street shortly after midnight for an aggravated battery complaint, Thomason said. When they arrived, the suspect had already left.
Thomason said the victim gave a description of the suspect to an officer. That's when two other officers saw a man in the area who matched the description.
"The suspect took off running," and while chasing him, one of the officers ran into the clothesline.
"It was dark, and he didn't see it when he was running," Thomason said. "It caught him in the mouth. He has damage to the mouth, the eye, the nose and the face."
Thomason dispelled rumors on Facebook that the officer was jumped and beaten by gang members. "That is not true," he said.
Thomason said he has talked to Danville Housing Authority officials about removing any metal clotheslines from the premises.