"I was walking toward my vehicle and heard the sound you every state trooper hates to hear. I heard tires sliding on the pavement. I looked up in time to see a black vehicle coming sideways, directly towards me. I remember turning to my right - trying to jump out of the way. I remember clearly hearing the vehicle strike my patrol car on the back. And the next thing I knew my patrol car had hit me and I was on the ground."
That is how Utah Highway Patrol Corporal Terry Woodward remembers his early December accident. He says after he was hit he remembers “rolling on my back and calling in that I had been hit and we had an officer down and then things when a little fuzzy from there."
Trooper Woodward's injuries were not fuzzy, they were serious. "My left leg was broken as well as my left ankle. My right foot was broken and I had internal bleeding in my pelvis."
On Tuesday, the Utah Highway Patrol once again pleaded with people to obey the ‘move over law’ so accidents like this can be prevented down the road. UHP spokesman Sgt. Jeff Nigbor says, "When you choose to go too fast and not to slow down and when you choose not to move over while we are investigating a crash - this is what can happen."
And it's not an infrequent occurrence. At a news conference about a dozen troopers who had been hit by a car were there to share their stories. Trooper Cody McCoy says, "I was hit in the rear by a driver of speeds approximately 65 to 70 miles per hour." Trooper Derek Parker says this about his recent accident. "I saw it a split second before it happened, not enough time to tense up, but enough to know it was coming."
Troopers hope that by sharing their stories - motorists will remember four things.
One - slow down before you get to the scene.
Two - move over and away from police and emergency vehicles.
Three - focus on your driving and not a cell phone or the radio.
And four - be aware of hazards around you - like slippery conditions.
Troopers say if more people remember those simple things, more accidents will be avoided.
"To see that car coming at you and not be able to get out of the way - you feel kind of helpless."