STERLING, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) - An Illinois State Police trooper was injured in a five-vehicle crash Monday evening in Ogle County in the northwestern portion of the state.
At 6:43 p.m., officials responded to the crash in the northbound lanes of Interstate 39 near milepost 108 in Sterling, according to a statement from state police.
At the time of the crash, the trooper was sitting inside his squad car with his emergency lights activated as he conducted a traffic stop on the right shoulder of the roadway, state police said.
About the same time, a semitrailer attempted to merge from the right lane of traffic and struck a commercial vehicle traveling in the left lane, state police said. The semi then veered back into the right lane and swerved onto the shoulder, sideswiping the squad car and the vehicle the trooper had pulled over.
The trooper’s car sustained “extensive damage” during the collision, state police said. Additionally, a fifth vehicle was damaged by debris from the crash but was not directly involved in the collision.
The trooper was treated and released from a hospital after suffering injuries that weren’t thought to be life-threatening, state police said. No one else was hurt.
The semi driver, identified as a 58-year-old Chicago man, was cited for improper lane usage and violating Scott’s Law, which “requires vehicles to slow down, move over and change lanes if possible, when they are approaching an emergency vehicle, or any vehicle with its hazard lights activated,” according to state police.
“We would like to ask the public to please remain aware of their surroundings while driving,” ISP District 1 Commander Matthew Hodgdon said in the statement. “If you see an emergency vehicle with their lights activated, you must first slow down, and proceed to move over, if it is safe to do so.”
This year, nine state troopers have been struck during on-duty incidents in Illinois, state police said. Trooper Christopher Lambert was killed in a crash Jan. 12 on the Tri-State Tollway in Glenview, marking the sole fatality.
Scott A. Larsen was subsequently arrested in connection with Lambert’s death, state police said at the time. Larsen was charged with one count of reckless homicide of a police officer and two counts of reckless homicide involving Scott’s Law.
“Our Troopers risk their lives daily to protect the members of our communities,” Hodgdon added. “We ask the public to please obey all traffic laws, including Scott’s Law, to help safeguard the lives of our Troopers, and all members of the public.”