Patrol vehicle struck in Wyoming while inspecting accident
DOUGLAS, WYO. — A Wyoming Highway Patrol vehicle was struck on Thursday afternoon near Douglas.
The incident happened around 1:07 p.m. when Troopers pulled over to the shoulder of Interstate 25 to investigate a prior accident. A southbound Dodge Challenger lost control as it was passing by on the slush-covered roadway and collided with the patrol car.
Troopers were inside the vehicle during the collision and sustained minor injuries.
Several states have reported a recent increase in motorists crashing into emergency personnel. Traffic-related incidents are one of the leading causes of death among on-duty law enforcement officers, with 47 officers killed in 2017. Nine of those officers were struck and killed outside of their vehicles.
Illinois has been one of the hardest states hit, with such incidences nearly doubling so far this year and two trooper deaths. In total it’s seen 15 troopers, or their vehicles, hit while stopped at the side of the road with their lights flashing.
In March, the South Dakota Highway Patrol shared a video on its Facebook page of a trooper assisting a stranded motorist with a tire change when a passing vehicle nearly hits them.
Every state has a law that requires motorists to slow down and move over when passing vehicles on the side of the road with flashing lights. In South Dakota, it’s a Class 2 misdemeanor to disobey this rule, punishable by up to $200 and sixty days in jail.
Beyond the fine and possible jail time, the rules are in place to keep people safe, especially emergency personnel, and ignoring them can have deadly consequences.