Three separate collisions injured Virginia state troopers on February 24, 2015. The first, in Prince William County, VA, occurred on I-95 near the town of Dumfries when a speeding SUV ran off the interstate and slammed into a cruiser. The driver has been charged with reckless driving for exceeding the speed limit and losing control of his vehicle.
About 12 hours later and just to the north in Fairfax County, a car hit a second state trooper who was conducting a traffic stop on the shoulder of I-66 near the interchange with I-495. In addition to the law enforcement official, the wreck injured people in the stopped car and the at-fault driver.
Perhaps the most serious incident took place in Suffolk, where the later stages of a high-speed chase that began near Smithfield saw the fleeing suspect sideswipe a pursing cruiser. The impact eventually led to the suspect swerving of the highway, smashing into a tree and dying from a combination of injuries and burns. The trooper hurt in Suffolk is expected to recover without requiring intensive medical treatment.
Dangers faced by police and other emergency responders have come into sharp focus during this month's run of major winter storms. Icy and snow-covered roads have led to thousands of crashes, a majority of which required law enforcement, EMTs and tow truck operators to assist. Simply traveling to the scenes of wrecks put these lifesavers at risk, and the potential for injuries and death only increases when other people drive too fast for conditions and fail to slow down or move over when approaching crash scenes.
With yet more snow on the way as I type this, I urge everyone who must drive to proceed cautiously and to give emergency responders ample time and space to do their necessary work.