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SALT LAKE CITY -- Monday, the Utah Highway Patrol showed us the crunched remains of a trooper's car that was rammed Sunday by a driver traveling too fast for the icy road conditions. UHP says this is the fourth patrol car that has been hit this winter season.
The latest crash happened about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, on I-15 at 400 South in Salt Lake City. Lt. Mike Loveland was stopped on the ramp to I-15, with his lights on, assisting other drivers who got in wrecks from the icy roads. He says a driver came screaming up the ramp at about 50 miles an hour and slammed into his car
The trooper hit his head on the spotlight controller, creating a large gash on his head. He was taken to a local hospital where he received stitches. Two people in the other car were also taken to the hospital with minor injuries, Loveland said.
"It's just dangerous, it's darn dangerous," Loveland said of the conditions troopers face, especially when investigating crashes on snow-slicked roads.
"People can't go 65 is the bottom line, you can't go freeway speeds under adverse conditions, whether snow, ice, slush, whatever. People have to get that out of their head. You cannot do the speed limits when the roads are slick." Sunday night a snow storm rolled through and then the skies cleared and temperatures dropped fast, making for icy road conditions. Sheets of ice made it impossible for cars to stop on Beck Street.
When there's ice and snow, take it slow! -UHP
Loveland said he's been on the scene of many crashes where drivers have told him they were going the speed limit. But in winter conditions, he said, that's often too fast.
"We've got to slow down, we've got to increase our following distance, and frankly we've got to mellow out a little bit," he said.
Utah law requires vehicles to slow down and move over if possible when coming up on an emergency vehicle. Loveland said many Utahns appear to be getting that message.
Salt Lake City police handled the case where the trooper got hit last night; they cited the driver who hit the trooper for going too fast for conditions.