BOZEMAN — The Montana Highway Patrol is reminding drivers to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles after several crashes involving MHP patrol vehicles.
MHP posted a video on its Facebook page Saturday morning, showing footage of Trooper Taylor Gagnon's patrol car being struck from behind while she was responding to a crash in Park County.
MHP said Trooper Gagnon was responding to a Subaru that had collided with a deer when a pickup lost control and struck the left rear of the patrol car. As the MHP vehicle spun into the right ditch, the pickup began to overturn, striking and forcing the Subaru off the ramp of a tow truck and into the right ditch.
Trooper Gagnon was wearing her seatbelt in her vehicle at the time of the crash and was treated at hospital for minor injuries, according to MHP.
We have not received information on the condition of the driver of the Subaru or the pickup. We will update as we get more information.
On Sunday, the MHP posted about another crash that injured another trooper. This video showed Trooper Zach Rehbein investigating another crash when a truck was in the left lane and lost control. The truck hit the front end of Trooper Rehbein's car and struck the driver side door at an angle in a side-swipe style crash. After the collision, the pickup rolled.
Trooper Rehbein went to the hospital and was medically cleared to return to duty the next day.
The MHP hopes that by sharing these stories it will remind people the importance of moving out of the way of emergency vehicles.
MHP reminds the public state law requires drivers to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles, including tow trucks.
61-8-346. Operation of vehicles on approach of authorized emergency vehicles or police vehicles -- approaching stationary emergency vehicles or police vehicles. (1) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle making use of audible and visual signals meeting the requirements of 61-9-402 or of a police vehicle properly and lawfully making use of an audible signal only, the operator of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle or police vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer or highway patrol officer.
(2) This section does not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle or police vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.
(3) Except as provided in subsection (4), upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle or police vehicle that is displaying visible signals of flashing or rotating amber, blue, red, or green lights, the operator of the approaching vehicle shall:
(a) reduce the vehicle's speed, proceed with caution, and, if possible considering safety and traffic conditions, move to a lane that is not adjacent to the lane in which the authorized emergency vehicle or police vehicle is located or move as far away from the authorized emergency vehicle or police vehicle as possible; or
(b) if changing lanes is not possible or is determined to be unsafe, reduce the vehicle's speed, proceed with caution, and maintain a reduced speed, appropriate to the road and the conditions, through the area where the authorized emergency vehicle or police vehicle is stopped.
(4) Upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle or police vehicle that is displaying visible signals of flashing or rotating amber, blue, red, or green lights on a public highway with a posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour or greater when driving in a lane that is directly next to the emergency vehicle or police vehicle, the operator of the approaching vehicle shall reduce the vehicle's speed by at least 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.