Squad car struck by semi in St. Elmo

An Illinois State Police District 12 squad car is shown after being struck early Sunday morning while the trooper was assisting a motorist on Interstate 70 in St. Elmo.

At approximately 6:03 a.m. Sunday, Illinois State Police (ISP) officials investigated a crash involving an ISP District 12 Trooper on Interstate 70 eastbound near milepost 76 in Fayette County.

An ISP trooper was inside a parked fully marked squad car with the emergency lights activated assisting a stopped motorist on the right shoulder when a truck-tractor semitrailer traveling east on Interstate 70 failed to yield to the stationary squad car and veered off the roadway and onto the right shoulder. The front end of the semi struck the rear driver’s side of the squad car.

The ISP trooper sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to an area hospital for treatment and released. The driver and passenger of the semi also were transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Pedro Espinoza, 58, of Sunland, California, was charged with a violation of Scott’s Law, Failure to Reduce Speed to Avoid an Accident and Improper Lane Usage. A person who violates Scott’s Law, commits a business offense and faces a fine of no less than $250 or more than $10,000 for a first offense. If the violation results in injury to another person, the violator’s driver’s license will be suspended for a mandatory period of anywhere between six months and two years.

So far this year, there have been 19 ISP squad cars struck in relation to Scott’s Law and 12 troopers have sustained injuries from Scott’s Law-related crashes. 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 its emergency or hazard lights activated, drivers are required to slow down and move over.

“I’m very proud of District 12 troopers and all ISP troopers working throughout the state risking their lives to keep our roadways safe,” said District 12 Commander Lieutenant Kerry Sutton. “These crashes are completely preventable, and I am asking the public to avoid putting the lives of others at risk by making responsible choices when behind the wheel; always move over when you approach a stationary vehicle on the side of the road.”

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