SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Highway Patrol is urging motorists to slow down and move over when approaching an accident in light of three crashes in two days in which troopers were either hit or nearly hit.
"If troopers are out there they are going to be exposed because they are usually outside of their vehicles," said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Jacob Cox.
Cox said so far this year, 12 incidents have happened, resulting in injuries to three of the troopers that were serious enough to require medical attention.
On Saturday, I-80 was particularly dangerous for troopers, with near-misses happening mid-morning at the exit to Tooele City on snowy roads, and a second incident occurring about seven miles east of there in Salt Lake County that evening.
In both of those crashes, the troopers were out of their car investigating a single vehicle crash caused by slick conditions. And, in both of those crashes, another approaching vehicle traveling too fast went out of control and slammed into the troopers' patrol cars.
"If one vehicle has lost control, it is probably because the road conditions are poor and everyone else in the area should reduce their speed and slow down," Cox said.
In Friday's accident on I-70 near mile marker 15 in Clear Creek Canyon, the circumstances were nearly the same. The trooper had pulled over to assist with a crash when a second vehicle lost control on the slick road, and slammed into the back of his patrol car. The trooper was still in the car, however, when it was hit from behind. He and the driver suffered minor injuries.
All troopers involved in the weekend incidents are veterans of the agency with 14 years on the job.