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.