A Michigan State Police trooper is home from the hospital, a little more than 24 hours after being involved in a horrific crash that left his SUV mangled.
The trooper, who did not want to be identified, is lucky to have survived, let alone be home from the hospital on Tuesday. New video from Michigan State police shows the moment the trooper nearly lost his life.
A truck, not obeying the law to give a lane, is seen crashing into his SUV. The trooper was seriously injured and suffered multiple broken bones and had trouble breathing on his own.
Lt. Michael Shaw said if he would have been in a smaller MSP vehicle, the outcome may have been much worse.
"It wasn't as bad as it could have been," Shaw said. "If he hadn't of been in that SUV, by looking at some of the damage, if he would have been in a charger or a smaller patrol car, he probably wouldn't have survived the collision."
MSP says the trooper was following proper safety procedures: he was sitting in the front seat and buckled in as he protected other troopers. Those troopers investigating an alleged drunken driving crash on I-696 near M-10 Monday morning.
As the trooper was sitting in his SUV, a semi-truck rear-ended him. MSP does not believe the driver saw the SUV until it was too late. Shaw said they do not believe the truck driver was under the influence.
"There's nothing that indicates that he was intoxicated or on any type of narcotics. It was more toward the fact that he was just going a little bit too fast and couldn't control his vehicle when the time came to try to stop," Shaw said.
The investigation is still in its early stages and the crash comes just a week after State Police rolled out a campaign to remind drivers to save a life and give a lane, for not just police, but anyone stopped on the side of the road.
"It's just kind of reiterating to everybody, hey, just move over one lane, and if you can, slow down," Shaw said.
He knows personally that accidents involving troopers happen more times than people hear about.
"Most of us in the second district know for sure, and that's the Wayne, Oakland, Macomb area, know it's not if - it's when you're gonna be hit. In my time trooping here I've been hit five times, we have a trooper that's been hit ten times in his career," Shaw said.
And to add to the disappointment, lt. Shaw notes, dozens of other drivers in the video, also didn't get over or slow down, for the first crash scene, or the second.
"All of us have jumped over the median walls, we've all dumped into ditches to avoid getting hit. We're attuned to the screeching sound of breaks more than we are sometimes to someone doing something else to us," he said.
The injured trooper, and 19-year-veteran in the force, is in good spirits, according to state police, and plans on returning to work as soon as he recovers.
"We're fortunate that he's still with us. He's got some injuries to his ribs and a broken leg, but he's gonna recover from this," Shaw said.
Lt. Shaw said those drivers aren't the only ones. According to an alarming study by AAA, 80% of people in Michigan know about the law to move over a lane, but disregard it. For that reason, MSP is showing wreckage like this crash to remind everyone how important this law is.
Police say the truck driis cooperating with their investigation, but there are a few other steps they have to go through before he's charged, including, getting his blood test results back.