An Oklahoma Highway Patrol or OHP trooper was nearly injured on the Muskogee Turnpike, State Highway 351, when an inattentive driver hit the trooper’s patrol car Tuesday.
Trooper Adam Wood was out Tuesday evening helping a motorist on the turnpike, clearing the side of the highway of debris, when his patrol car was hit by an SUV.
The OHP vehicle had emergency lights on at the time when Wood noticed the SUV headed toward his vehicle without any signs of slowing down. He was able to jump out of the way of the oncoming SUV before it hit the parked patrol vehicle.
The vehicle was sent more than 200 feet down the highway that would have surely caused harm to the trooper had he not been able to get out of the way.
It is not clear what caused the driver of the SUV to lose control of his vehicle, but only that the driver sustained minor injuries after airbags deployed in the vehicle. The driver did not want to be treated at the scene and was issued citations for inattentive driving and failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.
“This incident illustrates how vitally important it is for drivers to be aware and attentive at all times, OHP Chief Ricky Adams said. “We are fortunate that there were no serious injuries or loss of life to anyone in this crash.”
Accidents such as these show the dangers to officers and troopers on a daily basis whether apprehending criminals or performing a public service.
Highways in Oklahoma have specified laws put in place to protect emergency vehicles and vehicles that have broken down that are parked on the shoulder. These laws require drivers to change lanes or slow down when passing a vehicle with flashing lights.
“Our troopers face many dangers each and every day,” Adams said. “In the last several years, we’ve had far too many near-misses and units struck. Please avoid all distractions when you’re driving, and when you see flashing lights, slow down and move over. Help us all avoid needles tragedies.”
For more information about highway safety practices, go online to ok.gov/dps.
Reach Katrina Goforth at 580-482-1221, ext. 2077.