For the second time in three months, Utah Highway Patrol Trooper James Wright narrowly escaped injury when his cruiser was struck by another vehicle while stopped on a freeway shoulder.
The latest incident came about 6:20 a.m. Sunday. Wright had stopped in the right emergency lane, about five feet off southbound Interstate 15 just north of Lehi, to update his notes on a previous traffic stop. Suddenly, his cruiser was sideswiped by a semi-trailer rig — which kept right on going.
UHP said Wright was still able to pursue the big rig in his damaged cruiser. The semi pulled over, the driver initially acting surprised that he had hit the trooper’s vehicle. Then, during field sobriety testing, he abruptly attempted to run from the scene.
Lehi police officers, who had responded to investigate the crash since a UHP unit was involved, quickly chased him down and handcuffed him.
The 49-year-old Las Vegas, Nev., truck driver was booked into the Utah County jail on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, possession of methamphetamine, resisting arrest and fleeing the scene of an accident.
Wright also was involved in a Dec. 9, 2013, incident where his cruiser was rear-ended by an out-of-control pickup truck on I-15 in Utah County. The trooper was investigating an earlier car accident at the time and was outside his vehicle when the crash occurred.