JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE/WIS) – Former Gamecock baseball player Robbie Grinestaff, who is now a police officer in his Indiana hometown of Jeffersonville, is recuperating after being involved in a crash while responding to a bank robbery.
Grinestaff and another driver were whisked away by ambulance after their cars collided Monday afternoon.
"We heard sirens running straight down Main Street," Ken Addison said after witnessing the crash.
The head-on crash happened at 10th and Main just minutes after the Your Community Bank branch in the 2900 block of E. 10th Street was robbed.
"I turned and I was like 'Aw man,'" said Eric McLean, another witness to the crash.
"This is always something that can happen," said Det. Sergeant Todd Hollis, a Jeffersonville Police spokesman, "It's the risk of the job."
Authorities believe Grinestaff's lights and sirens were on while he cleared the way for the officers rushing to get to the bank. That's when police say the patrol car was hit by a red Honda before slamming into a pole.
"It happened really quick," Addison said. "I mean, we were all in shock and panic, you know."
The driver of the Honda, Mary Love Thornton, 47, of Charlestown, Indiana, was alert after the crash. Officers at the scene said her injuries did not appear life-threatening.
"Everybody ran across the street to check on her," Addison recalled.
Grinestaff and Thornton were both taken to University of Louisville Hospital. Grinestaff received an escort into the emergency room by fellow officers.
He was released from the hospital Monday evening.
During the chaos of the crash, the bank robber was busy running away. Authorities tell us he showed the teller a note claiming he had a gun, all while surveillance cameras rolled.
"It don't make me feel safe, knowing that someone is out there robbing people," McLean said.
Police say they were flooded with phone calls after the suspect's picture was broadcast on television. While police say they are closing in on leads, they have not released his name or said if he is connected to any other recent robberies.
Grinestaff has been with the Jeffersonville Police Department for three years.
Grinestaff played in 98 games for the Gamecocks in 2006 and 2007. In 2006, he earned second-team all-SEC honors as a designated hitter.