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Trooper & Tow Truck Driver Struck 12.12.19 (MT)


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On December 12, Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Taylor Gagnon was responding to a call after a Subaru hit a deer near the intersection of Love Lane and Hulbert Road in Bozeman.


Trooper Gagnon called for a tow truck to move the damaged Subaru and then waited in her patrol car while the tow truck driver worked on loading it up.


“At this time, I looked in my rear-view mirror and I saw headlights that were not slowing down at all. And about two seconds later, the vehicle crashed into me,” she said.


Trooper Gagnon and the tow-truck driver, who was inside of the Subaru during the collision, suffered no serious injuries. The driver of the truck that collided with both cars was also safe.


Trooper Gagnon says she is amazed and grateful nobody was seriously injured.


“In this job of first responder, or you know, even as tow truck drivers, we have to deal with the risks that come along with the job,” Gagnon said.


When she reflects on that evening, she says wearing her seatbelt might have made all the difference.

“I did put my seatbelt back on when I was back in the vehicle. The threat was gone and I think it’s always good to have your seatbelt on because you never know what traffic is going to do,” said Gagnon.


This is just one of a number of trooper-involved incidents that have happened on Montana roads in recent months.


Trooper Gagnon says drivers must be mindful of emergency responders on the road.


“If it’s possible to change lanes, change lanes. But always proceed the emergency vehicles with caution and slow down if possible,” Gagnon said.


MHP also wants to remind people to drive sober, slow down, and keep an eye out for changing road conditions while you’re traveling this holiday season.


RESOURCE LINK with video


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Thank god The Operator got all the way in the vehicle. I normally dont if I can avoid it.I dont want to dirty up my customers vehicles. If I can reach in and put the vehicle in neutral with my hands I do. The way I do it I would have been killed.


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  • 8 months later...

Mr. Black makes a great point regarding the use of white-lights to the rear and there are some really solid lessons to be learned. In this case, the approaching driver could claim "white-blindness" as their defense against the crash. In the grand scheme of things, I believe early wreckers were equipped with work lights for the recovery work they conducted. Work lights on carriers have created great hazards as determined in several other fatality cases. As suggested by Grumps, "flooding down the deck", is far safer than flooding an approaching motorist's eyes with blinding white-light. I'm glad the trooper and the tower were OK. Thanks for sharing the video and it will make it into my training library for future referral.      R.

Randall C. Resch

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My preference is to see the upper work lights mounted on the deck to each side of the winch. Upper lights if equipment should be on a separate switch and only used if it is a recovery with no oncoming traffic.


Do you see the Tow Operator in this image?




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