by: Tom Jones Updated:CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. —
Clayton County police officers recounted in court seeing their coworker get hit by a truck as they tried to arrest a burglary suspect.
There was also plenty of talk about cutting the pie -- a police term -- during the trial of Thomas Paige.
He faces 14 counts, including aggravated assault on a police officer during a December 2012 incident at the abandoned KMart on Frontage Road near Forest Park.
That is where Clayton County police officers said they answered a burglary in progress call and saw Paige hit Officer Mike Hooks with his Silverado truck, severely injuring him.
Officer Phong Nguyen is Hooks’ best friend and says he saw the truck speeding by as Hooks unwittingly approached a corner of the building.
He says he saw Hooks fly some 15 feet in the air after being hit.
"In my head, I'm... did I just see what I thought I saw. Like, did I just see that? Did that just really happen?" he testified.
Nguyen said he ran to help his friend and noticed he was badly hurt and not breathing.
"I thought I was going to lose him that day," he said.
Hooks spent more than a year recovering and has since returned to work.
Hooks’ fellow officers took the stand and talked about a technique Paige's attorney says Hooks did not do, putting him in harm's way that day.
"We call that cut the pie," Officer Glen King testified.
Police said officers are taught how to approach a building while pursuing a suspect.
"You just step out and see what you can see around the building before you turn the corner," King explained.
Prosecutors say Hooks did that right before he was intentionally hit by Paige.
The defense claims Paige did not try and hit the officer. Fred Jones says Hooks ran in front of the truck, never slicing the pie.
He appeared to get one officer to agree. "He doesn't stop?" he asked the officer, speaking of Hooks. The officer responded “correct.”
"He continues beyond the corner," Jones continued. "Correct," the officer said.
District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson got the officer to back off that statement a bit. "Did you see Officer Hooks slicing the pie?" she said. "It can be done at a rapid pace. I'm not sure if he did it or not," he said.
Hooks testified he doesn't recall much of what happened that day, but said he would never put himself in harm's way.