JEFFERSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Weather is to blame for a three-car crash that included an Illinois State trooper on Wednesday, February 24 at around 8:55 a.m.
A preliminary investigation by Illinois State Police indicated a 1991 Toyota pickup was going southbound on I-57 near the 82 mile post. At the time, they say road conditions were slick due to heavy, blowing snow.
Police say the ISP Chevrolet Caprice wan on the left shoulder while an abandoned 2002 Dodge Stratus was being removed from the median. They say the abandoned car was too close to the lane of traffic and was dangerous for other drivers.
The police cruiser had all emergency lights activated.
According to police, the Toyota lost control and slid into the rear of the police cruiser, pushing it into the abandoned car.
Rojelio Sanchez, 49, of Escondido, Calif., was driving the Toyota. He was taken by ambulance to an area hospital and then transferred to a regional hospital.
Sanchez was charged with failure to yield to stopped authorized emergency vehicles (Scott's Law), failure to reduce speed to avoid a crash and using an unsafe tire.
The ISP trooper was taken by ambulance to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
"It saddens me to announce a fellow officer has been injured in the line of duty. Illinois State Troopers place their lives on the line daily to keep our roads safe," said Lieutenant William Sons, ISP District 13/22 commander. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families, and we wish them a speedy recovery."
Police say the left lane was closed for about 1.5 hours for the crash investigation and clean up.
They say they would like to remind drivers to respect Scott's Law; and to use caution, move over out of the adjacent lane and/or slow down when approaching stationary authorized emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights.
Police say these emergency vehicles include law enforcement, fire department, emergency medical services and tow trucks.