JOLIET – On March 17, 2019, at approximately 6:39 p.m. Illinois State Police (ISP) officials investigated a three-car personal injury traffic crash on Interstate 80 westbound at milepost 128 in Will County, involving a District 5 ISP Trooper.
On the above date and time, a District 5 Trooper activated his emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop on a 2010 Nissan Altima. Once the Trooper activated his emergency lights, the driver of the Nissan stopped in the left lane of traffic. The Trooper then came to a complete stop and positioned his squad car directly behind the Nissan.
The Trooper remained inside of his squad car and directed the driver of the Nissan to pull over onto the left shoulder. At this time, a 2014 Ford Fusion, who was also traveling westbound in the left lane, approached the area, failed to yield to an emergency authorized vehicle, and struck the rear of the Trooper’s squad car. The impact caused the squad car to veer off the roadway. The Ford continued traveling westbound and struck the rear of the Nissan; the impact caused the Nissan to veer off the roadway and into the right ditch area. The Ford also veered off the roadway and into a ditch. Witnesses on scene helped the driver of the Ford exit his vehicle shortly before it became fully engulfed in flames.
The Trooper sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a local area hospital for treatment; the Trooper has since been released. The driver of the Nissan was also transported to a local area hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Two passengers traveling in the Nissan did not sustain any injuries. The driver of the Ford, who was identified as Rodolfo L. Mejia (45 YOA) of Channahon, Illinois, was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence and cited for a violation of Scott’s Law.
The ISP would like to remind the public of the requirements of Scott’s Law, otherwise known as the “Move Over” law. When approaching an emergency vehicle, or any vehicle with their hazard lights activated, drivers are required to slow down, and move over and change lanes if possible. This year alone, the ISP has had thirteen Troopers struck, one fatally, while handling on-duty incidents with their emergency lights activated.
“Please avoid a tragedy from occurring by making responsible driving choices before getting behind the wheel,” stated ISP District 5 Commander, Captain David Schneider.
“Emergency personnel risk their lives daily to protect the public. We ask the public to please obey all traffic laws, including Scott’s Law, to help protect the lives of our Troopers, and all members of the public,” concluded Captain Schneider.