A Tennessee State Trooper narrowly escaped death earlier this month after his cruiser was hit by a flatbed truck.
The accident occurred shortly before 3 a.m. on March 13. The trooper had just completed a traffic stop and was parked on the shoulder of Interstate 40 while he filled out paperwork. All of a sudden, he was struck by a large truck traveling at a high rate of speed.
Authorities say the accident was directly related to truck driver fatigue. Apparently, the truck driver was either asleep or very drowsy. He has been charged with felony aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.
The trucker was driving a load of construction equipment from Pennsylvania to Texas. His co-driver was asleep when the accident happened.
Trooper Saved by Fellow First Responders
By all accounts, the only thing that saved the trooper’s life was the fact that other first responders happened to be in the area at the time of the crash. Two paramedics happened to be about a quarter-mile behind the trooper when the accident occurred. In addition, a Knoxville police officer had seen the trooper pulled over before the crash and was already headed his way to see if he needed backup.
Together, those first responders were able to pull the trooper out from his cruiser just moments before it burst into flames.
The trooper suffered catastrophic injuries in the accident, including a brain injury, neck and spine fractures, broken ribs, lung damage and second-degree burns. A day after the accident, he was still listed in critical condition.
This accident is an unfortunate reminder of just how dangerous drowsy driving can be. Trucking is an important part of the American economy, but truckers should never be on the road when they are not awake and alert.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, “THP Trooper’s Rescue From Fiery I-40 Crash was ‘Game of Seconds,'” Hayes Hickman and Don Jacobs, March 14, 2012.