A Hudson, Wis., police officer assisting a motorist with a flat tire Monday morning narrowly escaped injury when another driver struck her squad car, which was stopped on the I-94 bridge over the St. Croix River.
Officer Hilary Lundberg pinned herself along the center concrete median dividing eastbound from westbound traffic to get out of the way of flying debris after a speeding pickup slammed into her squad that was parked just a few feet away, said Hudson Police Chief Marty Jensen.
"It could not have been more than 15 feet," he said, adding that he was thankful his officer was uninjured.
Lundberg had parked her squad car in the left lane of I-94 and activated her emergency lights around 9:20 a.m. She parked about 50 feet behind a vehicle with two occupants blocking the left lane and shoulder. As she called for a tow truck, Lundberg saw the pickup coming and braced for impact.
Shelby Rae, 22, was headed eastbound on I-94 and saw the crash, which forced Lundberg's squad across four lanes of traffic.
"The Black Ford pickup did not look like it was slowing down at all," said Rae, who was on her way to class at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. "It hit the cop car and stuff was flying over the median. It was terrifying."
Rae said the two people in the vehicle with the flat tire were running down the shoulder to get out of harm's way.
Neither Lundberg nor the people in the car she stopped to help were hurt. The pickup truck driver, identified as 31-year-old Derik Sands, of St. Paul, sustained minor injuries, the Minnesota State Patrol said.
The Minnesota State Patrol was investigating the crash since it occurred on the west end of the bridge that connects the two states.
Jensen said the incident is a good reminder as to why drivers need to obey Minnesota and Wisconsin's Move Over Law, which requires motorists on a road with two or more lanes going the same direction to move over one full lane from stopped emergency vehicles that have their flashing lights activated. Emergency vehicles include ambulance, fire, law enforcement, maintenance, construction vehicles and tow trucks.
"Slow down and move over when you see an emergency vehicle with its emergency lights on," Jensen said. "There is no place you have to be in such a hurry."
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