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MHP troopers unhurt after patrol vehicles hit by passing truck


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MHP asking drivers to slow down on the interstate




BILLINGS, Mont. - Montana Highway Patrol is asking all drivers to be mindful of emergency vehicles following a close call with two troopers Tuesday night.


MHP shared pictures on Facebook of the aftermath from a traffic stop Tuesday night, when two patrol cars were side swiped after a driver lost control. Troopers Toni Snelling and Jared Delaney responded to a rear-end collision on I-90 East at mile marker 444 near Billings.


The troopers' patrol cars were parked alongside the interstate with emergency lights on. A fire engine with its light on as well was blocking a lane to re-route traffic. As troopers investigated the crash, a man reportedly lost control of his vehicle while driving through the scene and side-swiped both patrol cars.

One of the vehicles is now totaled, but fortunately no one was hurt. This accident comes only a week after two tow truckers were fatally struck on the same interstate.


In that incident, the two men were recovering a vehicle in the passing lane when a driver of a pick-up truck tried to avoid colliding with a semi truck by moving into the passing lane, striking the men. MHP says speeding was a factor.


MHP Sergeant Eric Gilbert says with colder weather coming in, it's now more important than ever that drivers slow down and move over when driving through a crash scene.


"Any time you see emergency lights, move over and definitely pay attention, because we have emergency responders, firemen, paramedics, tow truck operators – we're all on the side of the road.


We're doing our job, and the last thing we need it to have a tragedy like what's happened recently. Thank God nothing happened to our troopers, but we did lose two tow truck drivers that were just doing their job," says Sgt. Gilbert.


According to the MHP Annual Report the number of total fatal crashes in the Billings area has increased since 2017, with 32 fatal crashes in 2019. 


Sergeant Gilbert says we can expect to see an increase in crashes on I-90 in coming months.



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By re-reading Sgt. Gilbert's statement, I'm left with a numb-feeling that, in the grand scheme of things, tow operator's are on the bottom-rung of the proverbial ladder. Just like the many July articles describing how tower, Will Ellis, was knock off the Don Holt Bridge in South Carolina. While there was some mention about Will, the focus was on Deputy Constanza, his injuries and him coming back to work. Story after story was about the deputy with minimal focus as to Will's death and the reason he was killed.  


I would have garnered a far much better impression had Sgt. Gilbert's statement read, "Thank God nothing happened to our troopers, but pray for the souls of the two tow truck drivers that were needlesly and tragically killed."           R.



Randall C. Resch

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