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NORTH MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — A North Miami Beach officer is recovering in the hospital after being involved in a serious car accident.

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“Nicole is doing much better today, thank God. I’m very happy to announce that,” said North Miami Beach Interim Police Chief Bill Hernandez.

Mood was critically injured after her patrol car was hit in North Miami Beach shortly after midnight on Sunday. Her cruiser smashed into a traffic light pole on 163rd St. and NE 19th Ave., just blocks away from police headquarters.

An officer was left in critical condition after her patrol car was hit in North Miami Beach. (Source: CBS4)

Nicole Mood was left in critical condition after her patrol car was hit in North Miami Beach. (Source: CBS4)

Rescue officials found Mood unconscious and had to extract her from the patrol car before taking her to Aventura Hospital.

Hernandez was by Officer Nicole Mood’s bedside along with her family.  They’re encouraged by her progress.

“Nicole’s going to come out of this. She’s a young, strong fighter and we only think positive things for her,” Hernandez said.

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Victor Gomez was at the scene when the cars collided.  He said the other driver involved in the crash tried to leave the scene, despite his injuries.

“I took off my shirt and put it on his wound and kept telling him, ‘Look at me. Look at me.’ He kept falling asleep, unconscious, and I kept saying, ‘Look at me, look at me,’” Gomez said.

Investigators are using a blood sample to see if that driver was drunk behind the wheel.

“DUI investigations are normally done roadside. Unfortunately these two gentlemen in their car were hurt to the point where we couldn’t do roadside, so we could not determine if the driver was impaired,” said North Miami Beach Police Capt. Richard Rand.

As the investigation continues, officers from all over South Florida are rallying by the young officer’s side, hoping for the best.

“The family has so much gratitude for the prayers and positive thoughts that have come in. It’s because of these prayers that’s making a difference with Nicole’s life,” Rand said.

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The police department plans to hold a fundraiser on Monday, November 23rd, at the Wing Stop restaurant on 163rd Street and NE 19th Ave. The money raised will go toward paying Mood’s bills, other than medical.

Ted Scouten