INDIANAPOLIS — An IMPD officer is recovering from injuries suffered during a crash with a driver police suspect was impaired on Indy’s south side. 

Following the crash, the department warned about the dangers of drinking and driving.

IMPD said a vehicle failed to yield to traffic on S. Harding Street just south of the I-465 interchange on Indy’s south side on Thursday night around 9:15. The failure to yield then led to a crash with a marked IMPD police car.

The vehicle’s driver is suspected of driving under the influence.

“In this case we were fortunate this officer wasn’t seriously injured. We’ve had officers with career ending injuries because of DUI crashes,” said IMPD Lt. Michael DeHart.

Lt. DeHart says coincidently the injured officer was set to work a DUI checkpoint Friday night.

The Thursday night crash isn’t the first time an IMPD officer has been injured by an impaired driver.

A crash in 2018 resulted from a drunk driver speeding through a red light on East Washington. Another officer had to be hospitalized in 2019 after hitting a utility pole during a crash with an intoxicated suspect.

More recently, in June of this year, a state trooper and an IMPD officer were struck by the driver of a Toyota, who had several open containers in his car and was arrested for driving under the influence.

“On average about 1 out of every 4 traffic crashes in Indiana are alcohol involved,” said Devon McDonald with the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

McDonald says nearly 200 people were killed statewide by impaired drivers in 2019 with another 249 victims in 2020.

He points out there is no shortage of ride sharing options to help people stay safe.

“Just avoid drinking and driving. Plan ahead. There’s really no excuse for it nowadays,” said McDonald.

“Many of the people we come in contact with are not bad people, they just make bad choices. We’re saying make good choices and the first part of that is plan ahead,” said DeHart.

IMPD tweeted a photo of the damaged IMPD squad car with the following caption:

“Another reminder of why NOT to drink and drive…Drunk drivers impact so many lives each year. Thankfully our officer will be recovering from minor injuries. The impaired driver will be facing a judge for their actions. Think before you drink, don’t drive drunk!”

The officer involved in the crash is expected to be okay. She posted on social media she feels lucky things didn’t turn out worse.\

Jesse Wells contributed to this article.