State trooper injured in Joliet is 13th struck by vehicle this year

A state trooper was injured Sunday night when an alleged drunk driver rear-ended his squad car in southwest suburban Joliet.

It was the 13th time this year an on-duty trooper has been struck, Illinois State Police said.

Rodolfo Mejia, 45, of Channahon, was charged with DUI and also cited for a violation of “Scott’s Law,” which mandates drivers to move over and slow down for emergency vehicles, state police said in a statement.

The trooper was inside his parked car at 6:40 p.m. during a traffic stop on I-80 near Hollywood Road when Mejia rear-ended him, police said. The impact sent the trooper’s car and a pulled over Nissan into a ditch.

Mejia’s car went up in flames shortly after bystanders helped him escape, police said.

The trooper and the Nissan’s driver were taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.

On Jan. 12, Trooper Christopher Lambert was struck and killed on I-294 when he stopped to help at a three-car crash in the north suburbs.

“Please avoid a tragedy from occurring by making responsible driving choices before getting behind the wheel,” Illinois State Police Captain David Schneider said in the statement.

Court information on Mejia was unavailable.