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Five patrol cars hit in last two weeks amid winter weather in Utah

Posted at 9:29 PM, Mar 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-02 08:37:59-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- During the last storm that hit the Salt Lake Valley Utah Highway Patrol saw more than 600 crashes, and while responding throughout the snowy day several patrol cars were hit all because drivers did not slow down and move over.

Just this week, a trooper says he was inches away from being hit by a semi when he stepped out of his car.

That’s one of five patrol cars that have been hit in the last two weeks, already half of what we saw for the entire year in 2017.

UHP is worried that with another storm rolling in, that number will rise if drivers don't start paying attention.

Throughout the years, Gerald Nowling has worked on a lot of patrol cars at Higgings Body and Paint.

“Anything from doors taken off, to crushed cars,” Nowling said.

He sees the aftermath when drivers don't slow down and move over for troopers.

“A lot of them are pretty hammered to where they are lucky to be alive,” Nowling said.

This week a trooper was in his patrol car, pulling up to the scene of a crash. But when he went to open the door to get out, a semi crashed into it and the next thing he knew his car door was gone.

The semi crushed the door against the front of the car. The truck driver pulled over immediately after.

“He had actually thought he hit the trooper,” said Sgt. Todd Royce, UHP.

The semi barely hit the car but caused a lot of damage, and missed the trooper by inches.

“We're lucky we didn't have a trooper that was killed that night,” Sgt. Royce said.

In 2017, 10 troopers were hit, and in just the last 10 days there have been five close calls. Close calls troopers and Gerald see all too often that could be prevented if drivers would slow down and move over.