WSP Trooper Badly Injured By Distracted Driver In Easily
December 28, 2017
(BELLEVUE, WA.) -- The Washington State Patrol (WSP) says a Trooper was badly injured Tuesday night while assisting a disabled motorist.
WSP Trooper Michael Patoc's badly damaged patrol car after it was run into by a distracted driver. CLICK TO ENLARGE
Trooper Michael Patoc sustained serious injuries while assisting that disabled motorist, whose vehicle was blocking a lane of eastbound I-90 near West Lake Sammamish Parkway, just before 7:30pm on Dec 26.
"Trooper Patoc was out of his patrol car attempting to clear a disabled motorist in the center lane when his vehicle was struck by an inattentive driver," said a WSP statement. "The force of that impact was so great it crushed the rear of his patrol car launching it forward into the disabled vehicle which in turn struck Trooper Patoc throwing him several feet."
See photos at upper right.
Patoc suffered serious injuries upon impact and was immediately rushed to Overlake Hospital where he was treated and released late Wednesday morning. There were no other injuries reported.
The causing driver, a 24-year woman from Snoqualmie, Washington said she saw the patrol cars emergency lights "but did not realize it was stopped."
She also said, "She looked down to adjust the dash controls in her vehicle before she struck the patrol car at freeway speeds."
Washington State’s “Move Over” law has been in effect since January 1, 2012. It requires drivers entering an emergency zone to proceed with “due regard for safety”.
District Commander Ron Mead expressed thanks for the quick response and excellent care provided by local fire fighters and paramedics when he responded to the hospital to check on the welfare of his trooper following the collision. While there he relayed this reminder for all drivers:
“It appears the causing driver in this instance was distracted. It’s important to remember that although cell phones as distraction have been paramount in the media lately all distractions are hazardous while driving. Our message is simple; when you are driving, focus on driving. This crash was entirely avoidable had the driver been paying attention. I am grateful that as serious as the injuries to the trooper are, they aren’t any worse."