ST. PAUL — The Minnesota State Patrol reports 10 trooper squads have been struck while parked during assists to other motorists to-date in 2013 — and four of the crashes occurred in March. The tenth trooper was hit last Friday, March 29. Two troopers were injured in the crashes.
The crashes are a reminder for motorists to drive at safe speeds, pay attention and move over for emergency responders on the shoulder of the road with their emergency lights activated.
Since 2010, there have been 79 trooper squads hit: 2010 — 27; 2011 — 26; 2012 — 17; to-date in 2013 — 10.
“The job of emergency responders is to help and assist the motoring public, and it is important that motorists assist us by moving over so we can provide our services safely,” says Lt. Eric Roeske of the State Patrol.
Four State Patrol Squads Hit in March:
• March 18 on Hwy. 169 — State Patrol squad was parked on shoulder and as the trooper exited the vehicle, a vehicle rear-ended the squad.
• March 18 on I-35W — Trooper was assisting motorist in a ditch, when a passing semitrailer side-swiped the trooper’s squad.
• March 19 on Hwy. 52 south of Cannon Falls — Trooper was assisting a tow company with a vehicle in a ditch when another vehicle lost control, slid sideways and struck the squad.
• March 29 on I-694 — Trooper was rear-ended by a passing vehicle.
In Minnesota, motorists must move over for stopped emergency vehicles that have emergency lights activated to give emergency responders room on the road to conduct their work safely. State Patrol Trooper Ted Foss was killed in 2000 by a passing vehicle as he was performing a traffic stop on the shoulder of I-90 in Southern Minnesota.
Minnesota’s Ted Foss “Move Over” Law:
• When traveling on a road with two or more lanes, you must keep over one full lane away from stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights activated — ambulance, fire, law enforcement, maintenance and construction vehicles.
• Reduce speed if you are unable to safely move over a lane.
• Failing to take these actions endangers personnel who provide critical and life-saving services. Fines can exceed $100.
About the Minnesota Department Public Safety
DPS comprises 11 divisions where 2,100 employees operate programs in the areas of law enforcement, crime victim assistance, traffic safety, alcohol and gambling, emergency communications, fire safety, pipeline safety, driver licensing, vehicle registration and emergency management. DPS activity is anchored by three core principles: education, enforcement and prevention.
About the Minnesota State Patrol
More than 500 Minnesota State Patrol troopers are the foundation of the agency that works to provide a safe environment on Minnesota’s roads by assisting motorists, taking enforcement action, and educating drivers about traffic safety issues. In addition to road safety activities, troopers conduct flight patrols, search and rescue missions, and assist other law enforcement agencies.
In 1929, the Minnesota Legislature created the Highway Patrol after lawmakers recognized the need for a traffic enforcement agency in response to the boom of automobiles. The first patrol force comprised 35 men. In 1970, the Highway Patrol became a division of the Department of Public Safety, and four years later its official name was changed to the Minnesota State Patrol.
Recent State Patrol Highlights
• The 54th State Patrol Academy is currently in progress at Camp Ripley with 44 trooper cadets in training.
• The State Patrol will hold its annual award ceremony for life-saving acts of troopers and citizens, April 29 at the Royal Cliff in Eagan.
• Find preliminary crash reports online at https://dps.mn.gov/divisions/msp/Pages/default.aspx.