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OSP Trooper Injured After Snow-Weighted Tree Falls on Patrol Car
02/17/2011
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph links valid 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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An Oregon State Police (OSP) trooper received minor injuries Thursday morning when a tree fell onto his patrol car near the Oregon / California border on Highway 199 in southern Oregon. The trooper was patrolling the stretch of highway during the morning following earlier reports of several crashes related to heavy snowfall.
 
According to Sergeant Jeff Fitzgerald, on February 17, 2011 at approximately 9:00 a.m. OSP Senior Trooper Ken Snook was patrolling on Highway 199 near milepost 42 at about 25 mph in a line of vehicles when an estimated 12-inch diameter tree weighted down by snow fell onto the patrol car's passenger side window and across the hood. On impact, the tree snapped in two and the patrol car came to stop a short distance down the road from the tree.
 
Snook, age 55, was able to notify OSP Southern Command Center dispatch of the incident and got out of the car on his own power while awaiting medical response. Snook said he was paying attention for the possibility that a snow-weighted tree could fall toward the highway when the patrol car was struck.
 
Illinois Fire Department, AMR ambulance, ODOT and OSP troopers responded to the scene. AMR transported Snook to Three Rivers Community Hospital in Grants Pass where he was treated and released.
 
The highway was reduced to one lane of travel for about 45 minutes before the patrol car was towed from the scene and the road cleared.
 
According to ODOT's Crash Analysis & Reporting Unit, between 2000 and 2009 there were an average of 12 reported traffic crashes each year involving a vehicle struck by a moving, falling of flying object, including a tree. In those crashes, seven people died and 39 others were injured. Sixty-five percent of those crashes happened during daylight hours.
 
During the winter time, heavy snowfall may causes branches and weighted down trees to break and fall near or onto the roadway. OSP and ODOT remind drivers to be alert at all times and to report potential or actual highway travel hazards.