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LAYTON -- It's taken 18 years, but Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Greg Lundell had a first this past Tuesday. His patrol car was hit.
"I was struck from behind by a vehicle that had lost control and hit the back of my car," Lundell said.
He was outside of his vehicle on Interstate 215 helping a driver who had slid off the road when another driver slammed into the back of his car. Now, his 3-month-old Dodge Charger, with only 9,500 miles on it, is at Auto Crafters, a Layton repair shop.
It's not alone. Another UHP patrol car was hit Wednesday and is also in for repairs.
"This will be our fourth car in the last four or five weeks," Lundell said.
All those cars are from the UHP's Davis County section, where they only had two spare cars. Troopers had to get retired cars from the state fleet just to work snowy roads the past two days.
"Right now, we don't have any spare cars; and so if we get hit, it's a serious issue for us because what do you do without a car?" Lundell said.
The budget is already tight, and repairs will cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.
"This is the worst time for us to be out of a vehicle and trying to get one fixed," Lundell said.
Lundell also said it is amazing he, or any of his troopers, didn't get seriously hurt in the crashes. He also wants to remind drivers that when you see a trooper pulled over on the side of the road, Utah law states that you have to slow down and move over at least one lane.
"We're always trying to watch behind us. You have to look at the people you're dealing with, but you're always taking that second glance behind you because traffic is coming by at a pretty good clip," Lundell said. "They need to give us room to work."
The owner of Auto Crafters in Layton said he can't believe how many police cars come through his shop. He's also amazed they aren't more seriously injured after seeing the kind of damage coming in.
"These cars are hit left and right and spinning around, so I'm just amazed they don't get hurt more," Nick Thiros said. "They do a really good job of not getting hurt."
With the New Year's holiday, administrators with the Utah Highway Patrol couldn't provide us with the total number of cars lost because of snowy roads statewide. Lundell said he knows of four because he had to replace them.
"We lose a good number of cars every year with people who lose control and then run into the backs of our patrol cars," Lundell said. "People just need to slow down."