It was a scary day on the roads for Virginia state troopers. Three were hit by drivers in a 12-hour span on Tuesday and two of those incidents happened in northern Virginia.
Two of the troopers were in their cars during these incidents, but one was actually standing on the road when a driver plowed into him.
When you look at the smashed remains of Trooper Michael Campbell's car, it is amazing the 26-year-old is okay.
His supervisor said Trooper Campbell had pulled someone over for expired tags on the right shoulder of I-66 Tuesday afternoon when a 71-year-old driver fell asleep behind the wheel and hit him from behind.
"This trooper was struck by that vehicle, he was then thrown back into the travel lane and he realized that he had landed in travel lane and was able to get up and get over to the grassy portion of the right-hand shoulder," said Virginia State Police First Sgt. Steven Mittendorff. "He is very lucky. He has no broken bones. He has a little bit of road rash, some significant bruising on his hip, but otherwise, he is unscathed on what could have been a very, very bad car crash."
He wasn't the first trooper hit on Virginia roads today -- or the last.
Trooper Ira Dallam was in his car running radar enforcement on I-95 in Prince William County at 3:30 a.m. Tuesday when a speeding driver hit him.
"A vehicle traveling at high rate of speed lost control, overturned and ran off the roadway striking the trooper who was seated in his vehicle," said Mittendorff.
And in Suffolk, another trooper's car was rammed twice during a pursuit, making it the fourth time in two weeks that a Virginia state trooper had been hit.
During a recent snowstorm, a trooper in an unmarked car on southbound I-95 at Backlick Road was also hit by a driver.
All the troopers have survived and the circumstances have been different in all the cases. But the plea from Virginia State Police is the same -- to pay attention and drive safely to help troopers get home safely at the end of the day.
"Your goal at the start of your shift is to make it home at the end of your shift," said Mittendorff. "They are on the side of the roads every day helping protect the citizens of the commonwealth and those who pass through the commonwealth. We need people to slow down and move over and give them that extra lane, that extra buffer so they can do their jobs without any issues."
Both Virginia and Maryland have "Move Over" laws. This means drivers have to merge left when there is an emergency vehicle or tow truck with flashing lights on the shoulder ahead.
Failure to do so can lead to tickets and fines, and in Virginia, subsequent violations after the first can be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.