PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Police continue their search for the driver who struck an officer and then fled the scene in South Philadelphia.

It happened just after 6:30 p.m. Monday as police were responding to a report of an armed man near 27th and Sears Streets in the Grays Ferry section of the city.

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Authorities say witnesses identified the suspect to officers who then jumped into a car with an 18-year-old woman and an 11-year-old boy inside.

Police say he sped down the one-way street and struck the 26-year-old officer.

“He was hit with such force that his body flew up on a parked car,” said Chief Inspector Scott Small. “(He) put a large hole in the front windshield.”

The officer was taken to Jefferson Hospital where he was treated for a serious head injury and a broken leg.

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“He’s stable. He’s doing well,” Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said. “I’m very proud of him and the other officers there.”

Ramsey said police had every justification to fire at the suspect, but restrained from doing so because of the two passengers inside the car.

“I mean he even put his kids at risk, he had kids in the car,” the commissioner said. “So if we fired at the car, what would happen to those children? I mean, he didn’t care.”

The suspect eventually hopped out of the car and ran away on foot. The vehicle was found a few blocks away with the woman and child still inside. They were questioned by police.

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Ramsey said he’d like to honor the residents in that neighborhood who came to the aid of the injured officer.