UHP troopers escape injury after motorist sideswipes patrol car

Posted at 7:18 AM, Sep 21, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-22 09:00:08-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Three Utah Highway Patrol troopers were nearly hit by passing cars on Interstate 15 Saturday.

In the first accident at about 10 a.m., a trooper got out of his vehicle to pick up some debris in the roadway near 3300 South, according to UHP officials.

Officials say the motorist didn't notice the slowing traffic.

The driver stopped at the last minute and lost control, causing him hit to the patrol that was pulled off onto the shoulder.

The trooper was not injured.

The second incident happened at about 2 p.m.

According to UHP officials, troopers had closed a lane for an injury accident in the area of 7600 South when a motorist drove through the closure and sideswiped a patrol vehicle with a trooper inside.

One of the troopers, Gary Perea, had to jump over the cement barrier to avoid being hit.

"I happened to look back and I saw him coming, and he was probably about a mile and a half down the road, saw him coming," he said. "He wasn't moving over... I don't remember jumping the wall. I just remember telling them, the other trooper, 'Get out of his car here he comes.'"

Other UHP troopers in the area were able to stop the motorist near 7200 South off of I-15.

The driver is suspected of DUI.

"Almost an overdose type situation; he would go from conscious, incoherent to coherent, talking about off the wall stuff," Perea said.

He was taken into custody and Unified police is handling the investigation.

The troopers were not injured.