LOCAL NEWS

Video shows distracted driver plowing into UHP patrol car, hurting trooper

Jun 29, 2022, 10:04 PM | Updated: Jun 30, 2022, 1:37 pm

MURRAY, Utah — New dash camera video shows the scary moments a distracted driver slammed into a Utah Highway Patrol vehicle on Interstate 215 Tuesday, injuring the trooper and others.

One video angle points to the front of the car, which was sitting behind an SUV during a traffic stop. Another video angle faces toward the back inside of the car. A black car is seen sailing straight toward the patrol car, as the trooper sits in the front seat.

The car plows into the back end, catapulting the patrol vehicle several feet forward into the SUV in front of it. The noise from the crash is deafening.

Just about every UHP trooper in the state heard the radio callout for that crash, knowing one of their colleagues was hurt.

Three with minor injuries after car hits UHP patrol car

“It’s scary,” said Trooper Cody Ohlau, who was working and heading to a meeting in southern Utah at the time. “And I immediately start looking at my computer for any information I can find, anything coming through dispatch.”

He would find out that his colleague, Trooper Romeo Martinez, was injured, along with two others. Martinez was still recovering Wednesday, and his patrol vehicle was totaled.

While none of the injuries were life-threatening and UHP officials said it could have been worse, it was also completely preventable.

“It frustrates me that people won’t take the time to move over for us,” Ohlau said. “Just like they want to go home every day, I want to go home every day.”

Ohlau knows what his work friend experienced all too well, having been through similar situations twice.

“I’ve been hit not that hard before, but I’ve been hit before from behind. I’ve been T-boned at a low speed,” he explained. While one of the situations was from icy roads, he said another was from a driver not paying attention.

“Thankfully neither of my crashes were that serious, but it’s scary,” he said. “Nobody likes to be hit by a car.”

And UHP certainly doesn’t like having to remind drivers to follow the most basic rules of the road, but Ohlau expressed that it needs to be said. Ohlau said he wants everyone to be safe.

“Watch your speed, slow down, go the speed limit, put your phone down, put your food down,” he said. “There’s nothing in this world worth dying about.”

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Video shows distracted driver plowing into UHP patrol car, hurting trooper