Illinois State Police Acting Director Brendan Kelly discusses Scott’s law
An Illinois State Police trooper, who was outside of his vehicle, assisting with a crash, sustained injuries Wednesday when a semitrailer struck the rear of his squad car.
Police didn’t identify the trooper, but Illinois State Police trooper Joshua Korando said the injured officer was airlifted to one of the regional hospitals with serious injuries.
Korando said the crash occurred at 10:34 p.m. on Interstate 55 northbound at mile post 9.4 in Collinsville. Korando said the trooper was assisting on a crash that occurred earlier.
“A motorist struck a light pole and it had fallen across the highway. The trooper was outside of his car slowing motorists down so nobody else hit the pole,” Korando said.
That crash occurred at 10:29 p.m. and that vehicle left the roadway when it struck the pole. Seven more vehicles struck the downed pole before the ISP troopers started arriving. The first trooper arrived on scene at 10:39 p.m. to stop traffic and move vehicles around the downed pole, Illinois State Police said.
“When the third ISP squad car arrived at approximately 10:42 p.m., the trooper positioned himself further back away from the scene to slow the approaching vehicles prior to them arriving at the initial scene of the downed pole. The trooper was on foot outside of his marked squad car with is lights activated, when both he and his squad car were struck,” police said.
The trooper has been with the agency for less than two years, he said.
There have been 14 incidents this year in which troopers have been struck by motorists while they have been outside of their cars working and emergency lights were activated. Korando said despite the agency putting the word out for motorists to be wary of emergency vehicles and the men and women working outside of their vehicles, many drivers are not paying attention.
Korando said Illinois State Police are going to start enforcing Scott’s Law violations more often. This is the law that requires drivers to “move over when you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road,” Korando said.
“It’s definitely a priority for the department,” Mindy Carroll, ISP’s Central Region Public Information Officer, said. Carroll said that since last year, there has been a significant increase in troopers hit by motorists that didn’t move over, prompting the agency to start issuing more citations.
“I can’t say that we haven’t enforced the law before, but I just know that due to that significant increase in crashes, there’s heightened awareness to the public and so we’re out there trying to enforce that,” she said. “Whenever we see an increase in something, we increase enforcement.”
According to Carroll, from Jan. 1 to March 19, ISP has issued 494 citations to drivers not following Scott’s Law. Last year, for the same time frame, that number was 184.
“We want to keep our troopers and other motoring public safe,” Korando said.
Carroll said she wants drivers to know that if they’re vehicle has problems and has to be pulled over, they should activate the car’s hazard lights as soon as possible and call ISP for a squad car to provide more visibility.
The Illinois State Police Traffic Crash Reconstruction Unit and Zone 6 Investigations are continuing to investigate the accident from Wednesday, Korando said.