TEMPLE — The Fourth of July weekend started badly Thursday morning for several individuals, including a Temple Police Department motorcycle officer, when a traffic stop on Interstate 35 turned into an accident involving four vehicles.

The motorcycle officer, William Pettyjohn, was wearing his full gear, including a helmet, which probably saved him from more serious injuries, said Cpl. Christopher Wilcox, Temple Police Department spokesman.

Pettyjohn, a 14-year veteran of the Temple Police Department, was transported to Scott & White Hospital to receive treatment for his injuries.

He was alert and talking when transported.

Two individuals in another vehicle were also taken to Scott & White Hospital and were treated and released, Wilcox said.

The motorcycle officer made a traffic stop at 7:45 a.m. near mile marker 296 and was walking back to his motorcycle after initially speaking with the driver of the stopped vehicle, Wilcox said.

Two vehicles were northbound, a blue two-door Chrysler convertible in the left lane and a gray Dodge pickup truck in the center lane.

The Chrysler began to switch lanes but collided with the pickup as the Chrysler moved into the center lane, causing both vehicles to lose control and slide, Wilcox said.

The truck rolled at least once or twice after hitting the motorcycle and stopped in the median.

The car slid northbound in the right traffic lane into the traffic stop and spun several times before hitting Pettyjohn, Wilcox said.

Pettyjohn was thrown about 20 feet before landing near the front left side of the vehicle involved in the traffic stop.

The drivers of the Chrysler convertible and the car originally stopped by the officer were not injured and were released at the scene, Wilcox said.

Pettyjohn said he is “humbled and thankful for all the kind words, thoughts and prayers,” Wilcox said.

Northbound traffic on I-35 was backed up more than five miles and alternate routes were advised by the Texas Department of Transportation.

Traffic was reduced to one lane and excess traffic was rerouted to the access road while the accident investigation unit and the DPS began their investigation into the crash, Wilcox said.

The scene was cleared by emergency vehicles at 11:20 a.m.

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