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UHP trooper recalls hitting a wrong way driver to stop him from causing an accident

Posted at 10:01 PM, Mar 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-21 00:01:56-04

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah - Newly released dash-cam video shows the moment of impact when a Utah Highway Patrol trooper intentionally rammed into a wrong-way driver in Davis County.

UHP trooper Jon Stanford got the call about a wrong way driver, heading northbound in the southbound lanes of highway 89 near legacy parkway around 10:45 p.m.  Monday night. He got in his patrol car heading southbound and saw headlights in the distance.

“He came up over a bend pretty quick. It really caught me by surprise and scared me a little bit,” said Stanford.

With a car quickly approaching head-on at freeway speeds, Stanford looked down at his speedometer and saw he was going 115 miles per hour.

He only a split second to make a decision.

“The one thing that was going through my head is we`ve had a lot of fatalities with wrong way drivers,” says Stanford.

Trooper Stanford bravely put himself in harm’s way, stopping the driver in his tracks.

“I smacked my knee and it took me a bit to get out of the car after it initially stopped,” said Stanford.

Davis County Sheriff`s deputies took 37-year-old Brad Blackner into custody. He's suspected of driving under the influence.

Re-watching the video less than 24 hours later, Trooper Stanford says he had a deadly wrong-way crash that happened back in February at the forefront of his mind.

“It was probably about a mile to half a mile south of that location on legacy,” says Stanford.

He knew he had to do whatever he could to prevent another tragic outcome.

“The only thing that was going through my mind is I got to stop really quick and figure out how to stop him because I don`t want him passing me. There was no way he was going to pass me,” says Stanford.

Stanford says he's no hero, just doing what he`s been trained to do, but putting himself in harm`s way is nothing new for him. He spent 11 years serving in the National Guard, 13 years as a police officer in Brigham City, before joining UHP a year and a half ago.