SALT LAKE CITY – Four Utah Highway Patrol troopers are recovering after being hit while responding to crashes on the icy roadways on Thursday.
Corporal David Brooks and Trooper Kristopher Cope say that when they saw the slippery roads, they knew they’d be helping out a lot of crash victims, but they didn’t expect to be among those victims.
Trooper Kristopher Cope says a crash forced the back end of his patrol car to hit him and propel him 15 feet down the highway.
He has been a trooper since October 2012 and his wife says the call she received is one no wife wants to get. Fortunately, Cope survived.
“I was just relieved to hear his voice. I’m just glad that he’s alive,” said Kristopher’s wife Megan Cope.
The four troopers hit on Thursday are among six hit in the last three weeks, an alarming trend for UHP troopers, who say it’s rare to be hit by another motorist while on the road.
“What we’re asking is for the public to have some situational awareness. Watch the weather reports. Know what kind of conditions there will be when they’re traveling,” said UHP Lt. Steve Winward.
UHP says that for the most part, drivers are aware, but dangerous conditions like Utah faced on Thursday throw motorists off-guard and crashes increase.
Corporal David Brooks was rear-ended while helping with a crash. He considers himself luck to only be a little sore.
Brooks says the reminder to slow down and follow at a safe distance is one everyone’s heard before, but it needs repeating.
“When they see our lights up there, just slow down a little more and give us a little more room. We’re very vulnerable on the side of the road. And we can be hurt very easily. And we all have families we want to get home to,” Brooks said.
The four troopers who were hit suffered only minor injuries.