By James Schugel, WCCO-TV
FOREST LAKE (WCCO) — At least 23 Minnesota State Patrol troopers have been hit this winter, more than double the amount of troopers who were hit all of last winter.
Lieutenant Chris Edstrom became the 22nd statistic when he was hit on the shoulder of Interstate 35W in Forest Lake in mid-January.
“You know, I had been there five or six minutes. I had been watching my rearview mirror, and I knew it was a bad curve,” he said about that afternoon.
Edstrom had just shown up to help a stranded driver who flew into the ditch, just north of the Interstate 35W and Interstate 35E interchange.
For some reason, he recalled, he had a strange feeling that he might get hit while sitting on the shoulder, so he made sure he put on his seatbelt.
He watched the driver he had stopped to assist get out of his car and walk towards the squad car, and that’s when he got hit.
“You can actually hear the squeal from the car,” Edstrom said as he watched the dashcam video.
The video looks straight ahead, and then goes black when the squad gets hit.
Edstrom thinks the driver just lost control on the overpass and maybe hit some icy patches before hitting him.
“I was surprised to see how bad the car was, because it didn’t seem like I got hit that hard,” Edstrom said.
Edstrom is driving a spare squad car while his vehicle gets fixed. He walked away from the crash with a sore neck, but was back to work the next day.
Edstrom’s car got pushed a couple feet forward, and now he’s pushing drivers to be more careful on the roads knowing more snow and ice are on the way. The next time he’s helping a stranded driver, he hopes the outcome isn’t nearly as dangerous.
“It’d be nice if it never happened again,” he said.