ST. PAUL (WCCO) — The Minnesota State Patrol is urging motorists to move over following the Jan. 17 crash where a state trooper was struck by a vehicle while assisting a motorist on Interstate 35W near Forest Lake.
State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske says motorists need to drive at safe speeds for road conditions. He also says that motorists who are waiting for assistance need to stay in the vehicles with their seat belts fastened.
“Winter road conditions can lead to an increased number of vehicles going off the road, and as a result, more emergency responders are called on to assist on the shoulder of the road,” said Roeske. “Motorists need to be alert for flashing lights and move over to ensure we can do our jobs safely and the people we are attending to are out of danger.”
Since Nov. 1, 22 trooper vehicles have been hit (compared to 10 during the same period last year) and five troopers have been injured (compared to four during the same period last year).
Minnesota’s “Move Over” law, which is 10 years old, was enacted after state trooper Ted Foss was killed by a passing vehicle while he was conducting a traffic stop on the shoulder of I-90 in Winona in 2000.
The law specifies that motorists, when traveling on a road with two or more lanes, must keep over on full lane away from stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights activated. If motorists are unable to safely move over a lane, they should reduce speeds.
Lt. Chris Edstrom, the trooper struck in the Jan. 17 crash, received only minor injuries.