MINNEHAHA COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — Another round of snow and windy conditions made travel across parts of eastern South Dakota treacherous Thursday with whiteout conditions and icy roads.
State troopers stayed busy with cars in the ditch and other crashes, but one stands out more than the rest. It was a crash like none other after a semi struck the back of a trooper’s vehicle on the side of the highway.
When passing the crash along the interstate, at first it looks like a jackknifed semi and trailer somehow balancing in the ditch, but if you move to other side, you can see it’s resting on a patrol car — with lights still flashing.
The crash happened around noon Thursday in the eastbound lanes on Interstate 90 between Hartford and Sioux Falls. The trooper was doing traffic control for another crash ahead when he was hit.
“He was in the vehicle at the time. He was extremely lucky, as we’ve seen by the pictures that we’ve seen,” Minnehaha County Sheriff captain Adam Zishka said.
The Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office is handing the investigation of this crash.
Zishka says other troopers helped the crash victim, who was later transported to a hospital in Sioux Falls.
“Which was a good thing in this case. They were able to move quickly. In fact, had to go back for some equipment in the vehicle,” Zishka said.
Zishka says road conditions on the interstate deteriorated throughout the day.
“Some parts of the interstate were travelable or easily accessible, some of them weren’t, and it’d go between the two conditions pretty rapidly,” he said.
But he says a crash like this is preventable.
“This was a clear-cut case of overdriving in the road conditions, going too fast for the snow, for the whiteout conditions. I can’t speak to whether or not he saw the trooper before he hit him, but it was an avoidable accident,” Zishka said.
It’s an important reminder to always be prepared and aware of your surroundings while out on the road.
“Use some common sense when you’re coming into these types of environments, to slow down, keep your lights on and pay attention to what you’re doing, could have prevented a crash like this,” Zishka said.
Again, the trooper, who was in his vehicle when it was hit, walked away with minor injuries. The driver of the semi was issued a citation for overdriving the road conditions.