EAST ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - A suspected drunk driver crashed into an Illinois State Trooper this weekend, as that trooper was making another DUI arrest.
KPLR News11 obtained exclusive video from the scene.
Sarah Williams said the crash happened right in front of her on at 3:30 Saturday morning on eastbound I-64 at mile marker 3.
A woman in an SUV drifted into a state trooper’s squad car without slowing down, Williams said.
“The police cruiser jumped about 4 feet off the ground at impact when it turned, slammed into the other guy’s car that he had pulled over. It was ridiculous,” Williams said.
She feared someone had been killed when she pulled over to help.
“The trooper was able to climb out his squad car to safety. Another motorist that was passing by, stopped and assisted the trooper in pulling the arrestee out of the back seat of the vehicle,” Trooper Calvin Dye, Jr., of the Illinois State Police.
Williams was that motorist.
“I thought that man that was in that back seat was dead. The officer and I started tugging on him, pulling on him to get him out of there,” she said.
The DUI suspects were hospitalized but expected to recover, Dye said.
The trooper was shaken up and sore, but otherwise OK.
“This could have very, very, easily been a triple fatality from looking at that trooper’s squad car…we’re just really urging motorists, if you see the lights activated, please try to get over if you can do so. Statewide we’re seeing more and more officers get struck by motorists that don’t move over,” Dye said.
15 months ago, Trooper Kyle Deatherage was struck and killed during a traffic stop on I-55 near Litchfield.
A year ago, Trooper James Sauter was struck and killed while pulled over in his car on I-294 outside of Chicago.
In January, Trooper Douglas Balder was struck and seriously hurt while helping a disabled driver on I-88 near Aurora, Illinois. Tollway worker, Vincent Petrella, who also stopped to help, was killed.
“Whatever side they’re on, I get to the other side. I give them as much room as they need. There’s no telling what they’re dealing with. Maybe someone will try to run from the car, speed out, jump into oncoming traffic. Anything can happen. Just get over,” Williams said.
Troopers couldn’t say it any better.
Lives may very well depend on it.