ST. PAUL (WCCO) — It’s happened again: a state trooper has been struck by a vehicle — the eighth such incident in the past few days.
A couple of those troopers spoke out to remind people how dangerous their jobs are and how drivers can help.
“You know, these things are just, to be perfectly honest, getting out of hand,” said Minnesota State Patrol Lt. Eric Roeske.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Steve Murphy Reports
Roeske said the latest incident happened on I-694 at Silver Lake Road in New Brighton on Tuesday night. The trooper and a drunken driver were in a squad car when it was struck. The two were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
“We’re really appealing to the public to pay attention to the driving conditions and what’s going on, on the side of the road. We don’t want to lose someone,” Roeske said.
The State Patrol also says 31 troopers have been hit since November. That’s up from the 13 troopers struck by vehicles during the same period last year.
Video from a traffic control camera captured the accident that happened just outside St. Cloud, and it shows how speed and not paying attention endangers the lives of those whose job it is to serve and protect.
“Too often people are driving too fast by the time they recognize there is a problem they try to break or move or they loose control and this is the result,” said Roeske.
Two days ago, Sgt. Dan Lewis stopped to help a stranded driver on Highway 52, south of Cannon Falls.
“I was sitting in the car and I did not see the car coming up behind me, at the time, I was entering some information into the computer when I was struck,” said Sgt. Dan Lewis.
The driver that hit his squad was going 65 miles per hour on glare ice but these accidents are not all weather related.
“To hear the same excuse over and over again, we weren’t visible, we weren’t seen, that they weren’t paying attention, it gets really old and really its unacceptable,“ said Trooper Andy DeRungs.
DeRungs was on the side of Interstate 35W north when he was hit.
“I began to do some paperwork on my computer and the next thing I know, I felt the hit,“ said DeRungs.
Minnesota does have a Move Over law. It’s called the “Ted Foss Law” in memory of a trooper who was killed.
When driving on a road with two or more lanes you must keep over one full lane away from a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights.
If you can’t move over a lane — slow down.
This week also marks the 33rd anniversary of the death of Trooper Roger Williams, who was killed by an out-of-control vehicle on Interstate 94 near Alexandria. He was a 26-year State Patrol veteran.
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