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OSP Trooper Injured After Patrol Car Struck From Behind on Icy Interstate 84 near Hood River
Sergeant Patrick Shortt
Oregon State Police - The Dalles
(541) 296-9646

Photograph link valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
Oregon State Police (OSP) is urging drivers to be attentive and slow down while driving during potentially icy conditions following a third similar incident in as many weeks in which an OSP patrol car was struck by another motorist while patrolling the icy roadways of the Columbia River Gorge. The OSP trooper was slightly injured and his patrol car damaged Sunday night when he was struck by another vehicle that had lost control near Hood River. The trooper was released from an area hospital after treatment for minor injuries and the other vehicle's driver was cited for Careless Driving.
According to OSP Sergeant Pat Shortt, on December 27, 2009 at approximately 8:55 p.m. Trooper MARK JUBITZ was responding to a crash on eastbound Interstate 84 near the Hood River city center exit. Roadways in the area were extremely icy after a series of brief snow showers moved through the area.
Trooper JUBITZ, who had his overhead emergency lights activated, was in the process of slowing down so that he could pull onto the freeway shoulder and assist at a previous crash scene. As he slowed he was struck from behind by a Honda Pilot sport utility vehicle driven by DAVID NIETO, age 33, from The Dalles. NIETO had also been traveling eastbound and was unable to stop due in part to the icy roadway before crashing into the back of the patrol car.
NIETO was accompanied by three of his children, twins age 8 and a 3-year old, and a 12-year old child. Neither NIETO nor his passengers were injured. NIETO was cited for Careless Driving.

Trooper JUBITZ was treated and released at Hood River Providence Hospital for minor injuries.

"The hazards of traveling on icy or snowy roads are only magnified when drivers are traveling too fast for conditions or being inattentive. Icy roads are a hazard in the Gorge and other highways so please pay attention to your surroundings and adjust your speed. If the pavement looks wet and it is cold outside there is a good chance that the roadway surface may be icy," said Sergeant Shortt.
OSP was assisted at the scene by the Hood River City Police and the Hood River Fire Department.
As a side note reminder, Oregon's "Move Over" law is changing January 1, 2010 with two important additions to the law originally passed in 2003 to increase safety travelers and those working along Oregon's roadways. "Failure to Maintain Safe Distance from Emergency Vehicle or Ambulance" (ORS 811.147, a class B traffic violation) was amended by House Bill 2040 to add roadside assistance vehicles and tow vehicles to the list of vehicles that require motorists to "maintain a safe distance". The law also clarifies what "slow down" means when it's unsafe to move over.
Key clarifications of the amended "Move Over" law:
  • The original law specified law enforcement, fire and ambulance vehicles displaying required warning lights. Drivers must now also move over or slow down when roadside assistance or tow vehicles are providing help to disabled vehicles.
  • "Slow down" means reducing speed by at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit if making a lane change is unsafe or not required (i.e., two-lane road).