UHP Trooper Talks After Close-Call Crash
Jul 8, 2019, 6:10 PM | Updated: 6:19 pm
(Image courtesy Utah Highway Patrol)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Utah Highway Patrol Trooper says it’s a “miracle” that he or someone else wasn’t killed when a truck suddenly smashed into his car and flew right over the top of it.
“Just a mile or two in speed difference could have been much different,” said Trooper Riley Rugg.
He spoke about this experience Monday. The horrific crash was partially caught on his dash camera.
“Honestly, when it happened, I couldn’t believe it was happening. Everything slowed down a little bit,” Trooper Rugg said. “It’s a miracle that we weren’t hurt.
It was about 7:30 p.m. on Sunday when Trooper Rugg was handling a crash scene on the westbound traffic lanes of Interstate 80 up Parley’s Canyon. He was pulled over to the side of the road and one of the crash victims was inside his patrol car.
That’s when he says he heard a second crash behind his car.
“(I) looked up and saw a truck impact the back of my vehicle. The first thing on my mind was to make sure that everybody was alright, to get the road blocked off,” said Trooper Rugg.
— Dan Rascon (@TVDanRascon) July 8, 2019
The 22-year-old trooper had just nine months on the force with UHP, but said his training as a Marine helped keep him calm.
“While in the Marine Corp they taught us a lot about mindset, and when the crash occurred I had a lot of adrenaline going, but I tried to stay calm and breathe, and make sure I was doing my job to keep everyone else safe,” he said.
The man inside the patrol car had to be extracted from the car by emergency crews, but walked away unhurt. The woman driving the truck was ejected and was taken to the hospital.
Trooper Rugg did have some debris hit his leg and knocked him down but he still managed to immediately call for help.
He said the truck landed at the very spot he and the tow truck driver were standing just seconds before.
Major Steven Windward with the UHP said this is another reminder of the importance for drivers to follow the law to slow down or move over when you see emergency crews on the shoulder.
“(It was a) very close call. This is one of the things we as administrators dread,” said Major Windward. “Be aware of your surroundings. (When) you have a trooper pulled over, you should slow down or move over – not only for our troopers but anyone who is pulled over.”