WHP TROOPER INJURED RESPONDING TO SHOTS FIRED CALL
Images & text courtesy Wyoming Highway Patrol
Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper Joel Eldred was involved in a crash near Glenrock on June 30th. Trooper Eldred is a 12 year veteran with the Patrol and is stationed out of Glenrock.
Trooper Eldred was responding emergent to a “shots fired” call in Douglas with both the emergency lights and sirens activated on his Dodge Charger patrol car. While passing eastbound traffic on US 20/26 at mile post 163.63, a 2002 Jeep SUV traveling east turned left into a commercial business driveway in front of the passing patrol car. The Jeep was driven by 49 year old Jamestown, Louisiana resident Robin Belgard. Trooper Eldred applied emergency braking and steered his patrol car into the north ditch to avoid the Jeep. Despite Trooper Eldred’s efforts to avoid a crash, the two vehicles still collided as the patrol car entered the ditch. After entering the ditch, Trooper Eldred’s patrol car rolled a minimum of four times. The Jeep spun around on the highway and came to rest facing west in the westbound lane of US 20/26.
Investigators are crediting Trooper Eldred’s seat belt use, ballistic vest use, vehicle safety design (including airbags) and the patrol car’s prisoner transport safety cage for minimizing the injuries Trooper Eldred sustained from the crash.
Robin Belgard was treated for her injuries and was released from the hospital on June 30th.
Trooper Eldred had attended WHP sponsored training the day before this crash occurred titled Below 100. The Below 100 program is a nationwide training initiative being given to Troopers and other law enforcement agencies in Wyoming to minimize the amount of officer involved deaths across the United States. Wearing your seat belt, wearing your ballistic vest and preparing for traffic to turn left in front of officers during emergency response are three main points emphasized in the Below 100 program.
No citations have been issued from this crash at the time of this update. Trooper Eldred is expected to be discharged from the hospital today (July 1st) and to make a full recovery from his injuries.
From WYDOT & the Wyoming Highway Patrol ... Severe winter weather and multiple crashes resulted in a road closure in both directions on Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Laramie on Saturday (Feb. 6th) resulting in motorists becoming stranded behind the crashes. The first crash occurred around 2:20 p.m. near mile post 340 eastbound, approximately 20 miles west of Cheyenne, when a commercial truck crashed into a WYDOT snowplow blocking all lanes. Shortly after that crash, all westbound lanes became blocked due to multiple crashes in the same vicinity (mile post 340).
As law enforcement, first responders, WYDOT and tow companies attempted to sort through and clean up the crashes, stranded motorists and their vehicles became drifted over while stopped in traffic due to the crashes. The drifting became so extreme in the 55 mph wind gusts that Troopers began walking through miles of stuck traffic reassuring motorists and making sure they were ventilating their vehicles with fresh air as the snowdrifts began covering their vehicles or plugging exhaust pipes.
Some motorists were not freed from the drifts until 5:00 a.m. the next morning.
The storm was a harsh reminder to always travel prepared during winter driving. The Wyoming Highway Patrol wants to remind everyone when traveling in inclement weather to keep your fuel tanks full, have extra blankets, a shovel, non-perishable food and water that can help you survive an extended time if you become stranded on a highway. Remember to get out and frequently check that your exhaust is not blocked by snow and ice and is able to vent properly to avoid affixation through carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure to occasionally bring fresh air into the vehicle by opening some widows as well.
Stay resourceful, stay with your vehicle and be sure to keep an eye out for your neighbor as not everyone will be as prepared as you are.
From WYDOT …
A new smart phone app for road and travel information has been released by the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT).
The Wyoming 511 app provides pre-trip and en route travel information, and can be used to provide location information to friends, family or emergency responders. It is available for most Android and Apple phones.
A map-based feature of the app provides information intended for planning a trip. Users can choose between road conditions and highway cameras. When viewing road conditions, a color-coded system shows pavement conditions and traffic hazards. The highway cameras view provides images from WYDOT’s statewide network of Web cameras.
Future releases of the app will add information about road construction and weather sensors.
The app improves safety for travelers who are already on the road with a “hands free, eyes free” function that speaks incidents and condition reports. Users hear road condition information for the route they are traveling on, and traffic incidents within a user-defined radius.
The app also features a “Where Am I?” function that uses GPS technology to identify the user’s location by route and mile marker as well as latitude and longitude coordinates. The location information provides accuracy down to one-tenth of a mile.
No personally identifiable information is collected by WYDOT through the use of the app.
It is available for free download from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. Search for the Wyoming 511 app, and look for the blue icon with the WYDOT logo on it, or go to https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=info.wyoroad.mobile.android or https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wyoming-511/id1077881610