In more than 20 years on duty, Lt. Kent Matthews of the Minnesota State Patrol has been hit by motorists 24 times, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I don’t know if I have the record, but I think I’m fairly close,” said Matthews, who in 1985 was hit twice during one stop. Officials estimate that almost every trooper will be hit several times during his or her career. More than 190 have been injured this year, including 23 hurt seriously enough to need time off. Those totals will increase during the holiday season, with its partygoers, drunken drivers, black ice, accumulated snow, and harried shoppers. “This is our most dangerous time of the year,” said Lt. Col. Steve Mengelkoch, who has been hit eight times himself.
About 450 troopers are on patrol duty. Half of them will get hit by motorists each year. That works out to more than four a week, or just over one every other day. The last trooper death on the road occurred in 2000. The incident led to a law in 2001 requiring drivers passing a stopped emergency vehicle to move at least one lane away.