BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — A Boynton Beach police officer struck by a vehicle last week while chasing a shoplifting suspect has been identified.
Officer Greg Wertman was hired by the department in July 2018 and remains hospitalized in serious condition.
“"We know how serious this was this was very very serious,” says Rich Best of Team Florida, an organization of retired and current officers.
Best says his group is reaching out to both the Boynton Beach Police Department and Wertman's family.
“Anytime an officer is injured in South Florida, our organization always reaches out,” Best says.
"We do expect it to be an extended recovery period. I don't expect him back at work in the short term," Boynton Beach Police Chief Michael G. Gregory said last week during a news conference.
Wertman's family issued the following statement:
“We are so appreciative of the community for the outpouring of support for Greg. His condition continues to improve daily, which we believe has a lot to do with the power of prayer.
We are eternally grateful to Greg’s brothers and sisters at the Boynton Beach Police Department, who have not left his side since he was hurt and have made sure we have everything we need so that we can focus on his recovery; and to the miracle workers at Delray Medical Center, who are giving Greg the best possible care.
We also extend our heartfelt thanks to the people who saw Greg get injured and immediately got out of their cars and went to help him. You are heroes to us, and we hope to one day thank you personally.
Finally, we send our gratitude to the Boynton Beach Fire Rescue crew who rendered aid to Greg at the scene and on the way to the hospital. Your efforts were lifesaving and nothing short of miraculous. We ask that you pray for the safety of all law enforcement officers who leave their families and risk their lives to keep their communities safe. We look forward to the day Greg can return to work with his brothers and sisters in blue. We know he does too.”
The officer struck by a car while chasing a shoplifter last week is identified as Greg Wertman. Officer Wertman was hired by the #BBPD in July 2018. He remains hospitalized in serious condition. We ask for your continued prayers. #bbpdpride pic.twitter.com/7ROZrYgREg— Boynton Beach Police (@BBPD) March 4, 2019
Gregory said it did not appear the driver who struck the officer, 31-year-old Esther Servil, did anything negligent. He said it was his understanding the driver was disturbed and shaken by what happened.
“I don't see him, I don't see him. I pray to god that he’s fine,” said Servil.
The chief says it appears she had a blind spot and she hasn’t been charged.
Police were looking for a second person in connection with the shoplifting case they identified as Elyshia Wilson. Several hours after posting her picture on social media, police said Wilson has surrendered. They said she will be charged with grand theft.
The other suspect, 24 year-old Ryan Moody, is in custody and faces charges of grand theft and resisting an officer with violence.
Gregory said he appreciated the outpouring support for the officer and department from the community.
Police have released a photo of Elyshia Wilson and surveillance video of Wilson and Moody inside a store.