MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - Charges are pending against the driver of a car that struck a Maryland State Police trooper's cruiser along the side of Interstate 270 early Saturday morning. The trooper was conducting a traffic stop at the time, and it's believed the driver who hit the cruiser was under the influence of alcohol.
It happened at around 6:40 am in the northbound lanes of I-270 just south of Montrose Road. The trooper was out of his vehicle when the driver of a Ford Fusion rear-ended his cruiser on the shoulder, and also struck the Honda Odyssey that the trooper had pulled over.
“Thank God our trooper wasn’t inside the vehicle, he would’ve been seriously injured,” said MSP Cpl. Charles Stevenson.
Neither the trooper nor the driver of the Honda was hurt, but the suspected DUI driver, 29-year-old Stephen Michael Shannon, was hospitalized.
Troopers say Shannon refused both a breathalyzer and a blood test.
It’s the second time this week a trooper’s car has been hit by a driver who didn’t move over for an emergency vehicle on the shoulder.
On Thursday evening, two different police cars were hit during the same accident investigation on 1-270 near Rockledge Drive. A Montgomery County deputy had rear-ended a vehicle, which led to a Montgomery County police officer coming to help with the accident. That officer's vehicle was hit by a car and, when a Maryland state trooper arrived to the scene, his car was also hit.
Back in June, Trooper John Dressel was seriously hurt when he was conducting a traffic stop on I-270 and an alleged drunk driver slammed into his car.
“This trooper was inside of the vehicle at the time,” said Stevenson. “He was actually trapped in the car for a long period of time.”
Dressel’s car was totaled and, two months later, he still hasn’t returned work. Stevenson said he’s fortunate to have survived.
“Not lucky, he’s blessed,” he said.
In all 50 states, there are laws about moving over for emergency vehicles. In Maryland, drivers must also move over for tow trucks.
“If you’re able to move over to the next lane, do so, if you’re unable to move over, you need to slow down. Slow down tremendously and pay attention to what’s going on on the shoulder,” Stevenson said.