Cited in the incident was Ronald Bollinger, 50, of Cape Girardeau, arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and issued summonses for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, not driving within a single lane and not wearing his safety belt, police said Monday.
Bollinger is scheduled to appear in municipal court before Judge Teresa Bright-Pearson at 9 a.m. Nov. 1.
No serious injuries were reported in the incident.
While Zeidler declined interview requests, department spokesman Darin Hickey said the public shouldn't think that situations like this are out of the ordinary.
"It's always something," Hickey said. "This is part of a police officer's life every day. When we're blocking traffic, the potential is there on every single call. There's not an officer who's worn the badge any length of time that hasn't come extremely close to getting clipped because some driver wasn't paying attention."
According to Hickey, this incident began at about 10:40 p.m., when officers responded to a call of a suicidal subject threatening to jump off the Hopper Road overpass that spans Interstate 55. The man contemplating suicide, whose name was not released, was standing over the southbound lanes and two officers were attempting to talk him down, Hickey said.
One of those officers, Sgt. Rick Schmidt, told Zeidler to block southbound traffic and to keep the lane clear until the man, and the drivers, were safe. Zeidler positioned his 2005 Ford Crown Victoria at an angle with the emergency lights flashing near mile marker 98. Zeidler had no sooner grabbed his emergency vest, Hickey said, when he noticed that a Chevrolet Tahoe didn't seem to notice that his squad car was blocking the roadway and wasn't slowing down.
In the moments before the SUV smashed into the police car, Zeidler recognized what was happening and jumped from the interstate to safety, Hickey said.
"He recognized what was happening and got out of the way and out of the roadway," Hickey said. "I don't know how fast Zeidler was moving, but I know it was a very hurried pace."
The impact spun the police car around on the interstate. Zeidler ran to the Tahoe to check on Bollinger, Hickey said. Zeidler was not injured in the motor vehicle accident, Hickey said. Bollinger may have sustained some minor injuries but refused medical treatment at the scene, Hickey said. Bollinger was taken to a hospital later as a precaution.
Before that, though, Bollinger was arrested for driving while intoxicated after police say he failed a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer. Both vehicles were significantly damaged, Hickey said.
The man on the overpass did not jump, Hickey said. Details about the man were not public, but Hickey said he was undergoing evaluation at a hospital.
Interstate 55, Cape Girardeau, MO