The number of Washington State Patrol vehicles hit by suspected drunken drivers more than doubled this year.
Through today, 25 troopers have had their cars hit by impaired drivers. That’s up from 11 cases in 2007, the agency announced today.
“We are exceptionally fortunate that none of these incidents has ended in tragedy for a trooper and their family,” said State Patrol Chief John Batiste in a press release. “And while we might be angry at the drunks’ behavior, we don’t want them to get hurt either.”
In half of the incidents, troopers had parked on the side of the road to deal with violators or handle other crashes. In the other cases, the troopers were hit while stopped at red lights.
“These are all completely preventable events,” Batiste said. “How drunk do you have to be to run into a marked police car with its lights flashing?”
A trooper and trooper-cadet were injured in one recent incident south of downtown Seattle.
The State Patrol doesn’t have an explanation for the increase in crashes.