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Winterset Police Officer Describes Near Miss With Wrong-Way Drunk Driver

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WINTERSET, Iowa -- Winterset Police Officer Christian Dekker's life may have flashed before his eyes.

"As he got closer, all of the sudden, I could hear my radar get louder and louder which means someone is getting faster."

Dash camera video around 1:49 a.m. Saturday shows impaired 26-year-old driver Matthew Huntsman from Urbandale barreling down westbound Highway 92 near 8th Street in Winterset,  going 60 mph in 45 mph speed limit, into oncoming traffic.

Dekker said, "It's one of those deals. It's a snap decision kind of thing."

At the last second, the dash camera shows Officer Dekker swerving right to avoid a head-on collision.

Dekker said, "I've never had somebody get that close to me."

He quickly caught up with Huntsman, who pulled over, near the intersection of Highway 92 and Highway 169.

"When I asked him where he was trying to head to for the night, he said he was leaving Urbandale and was trying to get to Des Moines. So the alcohol impaired him that much because we are almost thirty miles south of Des Moines."

For Dekker, it was too close for comfort.

"The first thing I thought about was my family."

Just five months ago a similar situation occurred when a drunk driver crashed head-on with a Des Moines police car on I-80, killing both Officer Susan Farrell and Carlos Puente-Morales.

"Inside of law enforcement we are one big family and it hits home. I'm very glad he decided not to come to the same side that I did.  We would have met head on," said Dekker.

Officer Dekker wears a thin blue line bracelet as a constant reminder of all officers who have died across the country. His decision to move to the shoulder could be the reason his fellow officers are not using the bracelet to remember him.

"I'm very thankful somebody was looking over me.  I don't know who it was, but somebody was telling me to go right and he stayed in the lane he was in."

Huntsman failed a field sobriety test and charged with operating while under the influence, driving 60 mph in a 45 mph zone and failure to yield half the road way.