KNIGHTDALE — A Wake County sheriff's deputy who escaped serious injury when his armored vest protected him during a shootout that killed a man in Wendell in November was hospitalized Saturday night after a passing van clipped him during a traffic stop in Knightdale, officials said.
Deputy Jeff Martin was taken to a hospital with what was described as minor injuries and then released, Wake sheriff's spokeswoman Phyllis Stephens said. The N.C. Highway Patrolis investigating the collision, which happened shortly after 8 p.m. at Knightdale Boulevard and Acres of Space Boulevard.
According to patrol Trooper Ceon Cayco, Martin was on a vehicle stop when he was hit by a van's passenger-side mirror. The van then continued traveling east on U.S. 64 Business. Martin got back in his car and eventually stopped the vehicle that clipped him.
Mahram Hezam Mohammed, 35, of Wilson faces charges of failing to stop and a failure to move over violation.
Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said that the danger of being on foot along a road during a stop "is part of what every law enforcement officer faces every day." The risks to police, Harrison noted, are why North Carolina enacted the "Move Over Law" in 2002. The statute requires drivers to move one lane over on multilane highways or to slow down on two-lane roads when they encounter an emergency vehicle on the shoulder with its lights flashing or utility-company vehicles with flashing amber lights after a major event such as an ice storm or hurricane.
In the November shooting, Martin's vest was hit, apparently by shotgun pellets, after he and other deputies responded to a call of a domestic dispute and assault at 208 Gail Ridge Lane in the Candlewick subdivision north of Wendell on Nov. 18. He was treated at WakeMed in Raleigh after that incident and released. Martin has been a deputy for four years.
Mark David Zareski, 28, who was wounded by deputies who returned fire after he pinned them down outside his house, later died. The State Bureau of Investigation, which routinely handles officer-involved shootings, has been looking into the incident. Zareski's wife had run to a neighbor's house after being beaten, deputies said, and the neighbor called 911.
Staff writer Joe Miller contributed.