Utah Department of Public Safety

Highway Patrol - Russian Roulette

If a trooper spends twenty years patrolling Utah’s highways, he will most likely be the victim of at least one, if not more, traffic accidents. Many troopers have been struck while investigating accidents on slippery roads. A few troopers have been struck numerous times. Such dangers go with the job. After any such accident, troopers wonder if they are not tempting fate. Patrolling freeways on cold, snowy days is a little like playing Russian roulette.

Mustang hit by a semi trailerWorking in Utah County, Sergeant Brent Shelby responded to the Point-of-the-Mountain to assist with a multitude of accidents on Friday, March 3, 1989. He responded to the southbound lanes just inside Utah County, where several vehicles had collided. While protecting the accident scene, Shelby glanced into his rear view mirror. He saw a large semi truck and trailer sliding sideways, heading directly toward him. With only a fraction of a second to react, he instinctively dropped down across the front seat area of his Mustang. This action undoubtedly saved his life. The trailer of the semi passed completely over the top of his patrol car, crushing the roof onto Sergeant Shelby. He had to use his portable radio to summon help. Emergency personnel responding from Lehi had to extricate him from his patrol car by cutting the top off. Shelby was taken to the American Fork Hospital where he was treated and released. He returned to the freeway to resume the game of Russian roulette.

[Last Update - Friday, 20-Dec-2013 11:00:45 MST]