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Video: Slow Down, Move Over: 2 State Patrol, 1 Rescue Squad Vehicle Hit

Dec 12, 2019 07:00AM ● By Editor
Trooper Sean Hollencamp was outside of his unmarked State Patrol vehicle when a driver lost control and hit the rear passenger side.  Photo:  WDIO-TV

By Baihly Warfield of WDIO-TV  - December 11, 2019

Two Minnesota State Patrol squad cards and one St. Louis County Rescue Squad truck were hit Sunday night while responding to crashes on I-35 near Midway Rd. 

Luckily, no troopers or first responders were injured. But the State Patrol is asking drivers to slow down and move over when roads get icy and slippery. 

All three vehicles were within 200 feet of each other on 35, the troopers said. The St. Louis County Rescue Squad truck was hit first, followed by an unmarked State Patrol squad car, followed by a marked squad car. 

Sean Hollencamp was the first trooper hit. He said he could tell the vehicle was heading toward them too fast. 

"You feel helpless because there's not really much you can do other than try and get out of the way and try and alert other people of what's coming," Hollencamp said. 

He was especially worried as he watched a driver hit his partner, Trooper Mark McGrew's squad. McGrew was out in front of the vehicle when the car came up from behind. 

"Depending on where that vehicle went and how hard he hit his squad, I was pretty worried about what was going to happen from that point, but fortunately his squad took most of the impact of the crash and the vehicle careened off into the center median without hitting anyone else," Hollencamp described.

McGrew said he barely saw it coming.

"I was watching some other vehicles go past us," McGrew said. "Then all of a sudden my partner was yelling, 'Watch out! Watch out!' and I was able to look up and see the headlights hitting the side of their vehicle, hitting the back of my squad, and then going into the ditch."

State Patrol Sgt. Neil Dickenson said so far in 2019, 36 State Patrol cars have been hit. He said usually that number is in the high teens or low 20s. They always see a spike this time of year, but it's been a particular bad winter already, according to Dickenson. 

Trooper McGrew said it's almost expected.

"This is the third time I've been hit in my career," he recalled. "I don't think a State Trooper's going to go an entire career without being hit at some point in time."

Sgt. Dickenson offered some winter driving tips:

  • Slow down. 
  • Leave early. 
  • Do not use cruise control. 
  • Put away distractions. 
  • Be aware of bridges as they are first to ice up.
  • Completely scrape and defrost windows. 
  • Have a good set of winter tires. 
  • Wear a seat belt. 

You can also visit the Minnesota 511 Travel Information website for information about road conditions and crashes. 

Watch the WDIO-TV Report here

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