CHICAGO (CBS) — A disturbing trend on Illinois highways has state police reminding drivers to pay attention, slow down, and give troopers room when they see an emergency vehicle stopped with its flashing lights on, after another state police squad car was struck Wednesday night.
Illinois State Police said shortly before 11 p.m., a state trooper was helping investigate a crash on Interstate 55 about 10 miles east of St. Louis, with his emergency lights activated, when a passing sem-tractor trailer struck the trooper and his squad car.
The trooper was taken to the hospital in serious but stable condition. The squad car sustained severe damage in the crash.
Police said the injured trooper was the third to arrive on the scene to investigate, after a car left the road and hit a light pole around 10:30 p.m. The pole fell across I-55 and seven other cars hit the downed pole before police arrived.
The injured trooper had stopped his marked squad car further back from the scene to signal approaching drivers to slow down before arriving at the spot where the pole had fallen.
It was the 14th time this year a state police squad car was struck.
Illinois State Police were investigating.
Illinois state law requires drivers to slow down, and move over one lane if possible, when they are approaching an emergency vehicle that has stopped on the roadway with its flashing lights activated. Violators could face a fine of up to $10,000, possible jail time, and suspension of their driving privileges.