State Trooper hit by truck says he feels bad for driver - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

State Trooper hit by truck says he feels bad for driver

Trooper Robert Woodard of Danville, Illinois was hit by a pickup truck Saturday evening. Trooper Robert Woodard of Danville, Illinois was hit by a pickup truck Saturday evening.
DU QUOIN, IL (KFVS) -

An Illinois State trooper hit by a truck last week serves as a reminder of why drivers should keep their eyes on the road this Labor Day weekend.

Trooper Robert Woodard of Danville, Illinois was working a traffic detail on Route 14 outside the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds when he was hit by a vehicle Saturday evening.

"I don't remember a whole lot of it," Woodard said. "It felt like somebody hit me in the back really hard and I flew and hit the pavement. I didn't know what had happened. A trooper ran over to me and told me I'd be struck by a pick-up truck."

Believe it or not, Thursday Trooper Woodard is hardly worse for wear; with just a few scratches he's already returned to work.

"Luckily, in my case nothing was seriously damaged," said Woodard. "Just a lot of deep bruising nothing I can't live with and push through."

But he says his brush with a bumper definitely drives home a fear shared by many troopers.

"I've told a lot of people, they say 'aren't you worried about getting shot?' No, I'm worried about getting hit by a car," said Woodard. "Typically, our beast is the interstate and people travel at high rates of speed and that's how most troopers die."

That's why Woodard urges drivers to pay attention, especially when emergency vehicles are present. He says the 23-year-old McLeansboro driver that hit him was doing everything right. He was not impaired and was driving slow, but Woodard says he just got a little distracted.

"He was watching the lights on the State Police car and came thru and struck me in the back," said Woodard.

The driver was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. It's a simple ticket with a $120 fine, but Woodard says - there are no hard feelings.

"I feel bad for the kid, I do," said Woodard. "I don't want him to live the rest of his life thinking he hurt that trooper. I feel just as bad for him and he does for me."

Everyone walked away from this minor case of distracted driving, but Woodard warns crashes like this don't always have a happy ending.

"Even if you're not impaired, you can be distracted and people can still be hurt," Woodard said.

In Illinois, hitting an emergency responder or emergency vehicle can really cost you. Scott's Law, also known as the "move over" law, says that when approaching any police or other emergency vehicle stopped along the roadway, you must slow down or change lanes and proceed with caution.

If you injure or kill an emergency worker you could be forced to pay up to $10,000 fine and potentially lose your driver's license.

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