A Closer Look At The Dangers State Troopers Face

By Caroline Lowe, WCCO-TV

ST. CLOUD (WCCO) — As tough as this winter’s been on Minnesota citizens, it’s been especially rough on the Minnesota State Patrol. So far this winter, more than 30 troopers have been hurt responding to calls.

Troopers tracked crashes all over the state Wednesday, including one of their own squads hit near Rochester.

A St. Cloud trooper Dan Orth took a WCCO-TV news crew along as he responded to calls Wednesday afternoon. His fellow troopers had been busy all day going to calls about cars stuck in ditches along the freeways all over the state.

It didn’t take long for the first call. A woman needed help after her call rolled over on Highway 10. Orth raced to the scene at more than 100 mph, navigating traffic and slick snowy patches along the way. By the time he and the WCCO-TV crew got there, the victim was on a stretcher, headed to the hospital and another trooper was already on the scene.

Orth’s biggest concern responding to calls like that is keeping himself and others at the scene safe from drivers who don’t move over and end up hitting troopers or their squad.

“The biggest thing I hear from people is they weren’t paying attention. Most people are decent drivers. What they are not doing is paying attention and they’re distracted,” said Orth.

He got emotional when he talked about responding to a call from help from another trooper, Mike Bell, after he was hit earlier this winter.

“It’s gut wrenching. I remember driving, trying to think about what we are going to do when we get there. Overwhelmed with emotion because you hear your partner yelling for help,” said Orth.

He wants people to remember to move over for emergency vehicles and slow down if they seen those vehicles responding to help someone in need or who has committed a traffic violation.

  • Rai

    Why was he going 100 mph with road conditions as they were? I understand he was reponding to an emergency but 100mph??? That’s dangerous on so many levels.

    • Troop a loop

      We have a lot more training than you folks do, and we surely don’t drive that fast unless it’s necessary.

      Next time you’re involved in an accident and are dying on the side of the road, ask yourself if you want us responding fast or to take our time.

      You people are pathetic. It’s not a game out there, this is serious business and you sitting in an office all day have NO CLUE what’s it’s like out there to deal with and be the one in charge of life and death situations.

  • Lin

    100 mph in those snowy conditions is just crazy. The reason troopers are getting hit because people aren’t slowing down when they see an emergency response vehicle on the side of the road.
    People will continue to speed because troopers are never seen on the roads. I drive over the speed limit everyday because I know the troopers aren’t on the roads, especially if it looks as if its going to rain or snow.
    I can drive to work without seeing a trooper for 3-4 months. The only way to get people to slow down is to be seen. Until they make themselves seen (not only at accidents) people will continue to speed.

    • Tim Biehn

      Lin- So is that the right thing to do? Just because no one is looking means you can break the law?


    100 MPH in those conditions??? What are those troopers thinking putting innosent lives at risk
    Crazy, just plain crazy

    • Klay

      Driving at 100mph in snowy conditions just to back up local responders? What sense does that make?

      • T.W.

        They are not putting innocent lives at risk, they are responding to a call with injuries a ROLLOVER! Put yourself in the shoes of the driver of the vehicle that rolled. How upset would you be if the troopers, deputy, or cops “took their time” to get there. I guess when it happens to you, you might understand. They go through lots of training on many different road conditions for that reason. If you think you can do a better job… go ahead and try it.

  • Justin

    Do you understand that each and every Officer is trained to drive in these conditions, unlike the normal citizen… They practice driving on slick courses and practice all sorts of maneuvers. When your needing help and want someone there fast, maybe you’ll understand! Until then, don’t blame a Police Officer for doing his job!.

    • T.W.

      I can’t agree with you more! Thank You Justin for understand what many other don’t seem to get. Like you said just wait until they need help then they will be complaining that the cops weren’t there fast enough.

  • Brewster

    100mph!, A cop almost took my mirror off the other day, I didn’t even see him coming, No lights, No sirens!, Just wizzing by me at 70mph in a 40mph zone!

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