Nearly 24 hours after a motorist smashed into his parked patrol cruiser on Interstate 75, Auld recalled his reaction to the crash and offered tips for drivers at a press conference Tuesday night attended by about 10 members of the media at the police station behind City Hall.
Though dried blood appeared beneath four stitches, Auld, 45, noted that it could've been worse.
"I'm definitely blessed," he said. "Things could've been different. But for some reason, I'm still here and I'm talking to you. I believe things happen for a reason. It just wasn't my time. I still have things to do. I don't know what that is yet, but there's something else for me to do."
Auld had parked in the left shoulder of the interstate, north of North Marietta Parkway, at about 8:50 p.m. Monday and was getting ready to begin radar speed enforcement when he heard a car skidding.
"I didn't know if he was behind me or off to one side of me ... So my instinct was to just not get out of the car and just hang on to the steering wheel," Auld said.
Auld's cruiser was hit on the right rear bumper by Fabio Prandini, 31, of Marietta, who lost control while driving a Honda Civic, said Officer Michael Gardner, a spokesman for the Marietta Police Department. Prandini told authorities that a pickup truck had rear-ended him, causing him to crash into Auld's car; however, investigators found no evidence to support that claim, Gardner said. Prandini is charged with driving too fast for conditions and failure to maintain lane, Gardner said.
Auld's car was pushed partially into the fast lane of traffic and Auld was most concerned that he would be struck again, he said.
"I didn't have time to be scared," he said. "Like I said, I didn't know if I was going to be struck again."
Fortunately, he was not struck again and was taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital for treatment. He was released a few hours later. Prandini had minor injuries but refused medical treatment.
Auld noted that the majority of police fatalities occur in automobile accidents, and that risk is certainly heightened during a high traffic holiday weekend.
"It's definitely dangerous," he said. "The job is what it is. You just have to accept it."
Auld, who is married and has two kids, said, "You don't realize how much people care about you until something like this happens."
Auld has been with Marietta Police for five years. He said Monday night's collision was his first major accident. Both cars had "extensive damage," Gardner said.
Auld's advise to drivers: "Please obey the move-over law," which requires motorists to slow down and move over when possible when coming up on a public safety vehicle with its lights on.
Also, he tells drivers to find a safe place to pull off and get as far off the road as possible.
When asked by the Journal if he will be back out enforcing traffic laws soon, Auld, dressed in uniform, said, "I would, but I'm beginning vacation today."
As for being nervous the next time he does pull over to begin radar enforcement, Auld simply said, "No. That's my job."