A commercial truck driver has been charged with multiple traffic violations after the tractor trailer he was driving plowed into an Ohio State Highway Patrol cruiser that had stopped to assist the driver of an impaired vehicle, injuring a state trooper and another motorist.
Investigators said that Trooper Rodney Hart, 45, had stopped in the right lane of I-70 eastbound in Licking County, Ohio, on the morning of April 12 to help Shanice Parker, 23, whose vehicle had been disabled from an earlier crash. Sgt. Hart positioned his cruiser to shield Parker’s vehicle, put flares on the road, and had his lights flashing. Despite taking all the right safety precautions, however, his vehicle was still struck.
There were also three other open lanes on the interstate for the driver of the tractor trailer, Eric Miller, 36, of Montrose, S.D., to travel in, the State Patrol noted.
A tractor trailer loaded with furniture plowed into Sgt. Hart’s cruiser around 8:40 a.m. Shanice Parker, 23, of Zanesville, Ohio, was sitting in the back of the cruiser when it was hit. She was airlifted to Ohio State University’s Wexner Center and remains hospitalized in stable condition.
Sgt. Hart was taken by ambulance to Licking Memorial Hospital in Newark, Ohio, for treatment and has since been released.
“Road flares out on a clear day and a clear line of sight … Clearly, the semi driver was distracted for reasons we don’t yet know,” Patrol Sgt. Vincent Shirey told The Columbus Dispatch. ”
Fatigue could be another underlying cause of the crash. Ohio law prohibits commercial drivers from operating a tractor trailer “while the person’s ability or alertness is so impaired by fatigue, illness, or other causes that is unsafe for the person to drive such a vehicle.”
Mr. Miller was charged with failing to maintain an assured clear distance, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, and driving a commercial vehicle with impaired alertness, The Columbus Dispatch reported, citing Patrol Sgt. Sirey. The latter violation is specific to drivers of commercial motor vehicles, The Dispatch noted.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch