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Trooper nearly killed by drunk driver, forced to jump to safety

Maryland State Troopers are on the road everyday, reprimanding reckless drivers before their behavior can cause a serious traffic accident. Their presence is meant to send a message to Maryland motorists: follow the rules of the road and drive safely, or you will get a ticket. By pulling over drunk, distracted, or negligent drivers and taking them off the road, Maryland State Troopers have no doubt saved a good number of lives.

However, this important job is not without its share of danger. A recent car accident on Interstate 95 highlighted the many risks which face State Troopers as they patrol Maryland roads. Last week, a 27-year-old trooper, brand-new to the force, was almost killed by an allegedly drunk driver on Interstate 95.

The near-fatal accident was caused by a 27-year-old driver from Baltimore, whose Ford Taurus rammed into the back of the young trooper's police vehicle while it was stopped along the side of the Interstate. The trooper, perhaps drawing on his experience as an Army infantryman in Iraq, quickly jumped over a concrete divider and managed to avoid the collision.

Since the accident, the Baltimore driver has been charged with driving under the influence, reckless and negligent driving, and failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision.

When asked what inspired his quick thinking, the officer stated that all State Troopers are taught to use extreme caution when working alongside a busy highway. Across the nation, statistics show that traffic accidents are responsible for more police officer deaths than gunfire. The National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial Fund claims that, during 2010, 73 officers died in road-related accidents, while 61 died due to a gunshot wound.

Maryland State Troopers are asking all drivers to slow down and move over if they spot an officer stopped on the roadway. They have also renewed their commitment to prosecuting drunk drivers throughout the state, reminding motorists that drinking and driving don't mix.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "Crime Scenes: Rookie trooper jumps over barrier to avoid crash." Peter Hermann, 16 March 2011.

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