Cops say trooper thrown from cruiser is OK

Ashes to ashes, but redeemed. State police say they’re unharmed after an officer was thrown from his cruiser when the rig they were following lost control and landed on its side at high speed…

Cops say trooper thrown from cruiser is OK

Ashes to ashes, but redeemed.

State police say they’re unharmed after an officer was thrown from his cruiser when the rig they were following lost control and landed on its side at high speed on Interstate 77 in Bristol, Virginia Wednesday night.

Virginia State Police Trooper Nicholas White was driving one of two state police cruisers along the interstate. The wild scene unfolded around 8:30 p.m. when a cement truck burst into flames after coming off the road. The truck’s driver crashed his truck near mile marker 376 after a tire blowout. But as he tried to reverse, the man also lost control of the truck.

According to the Virginia State Police Twitter account, a single-vehicle crash that began on the highway claimed the life of the 59-year-old driver of the tractor-trailer. In all, two motorists were injured.

“The driver told troopers he was traveling at about 80 mph on the right shoulder of the highway when the tire blew,” police said in a statement. “He said he backed into the center barrier but tried to reverse to regain control of the rig and it went off the roadway and started on fire.”

The driver of the tractor-trailer ran over the median and across the interstate, the police statement said. State police say White was thrown from his cruiser, the car in front of him hit the concrete barrier, and White ran across the highway to avoid that crash.

“The car, one that was in front of him, struck that concrete barrier and caught fire,” said State Police Lt. Chris Whitley. “The patrol car itself did not touch the concrete barrier at all,” he said.

White was treated and released from a nearby hospital. “We are grateful that he is OK and still with us,” Whitley said. “The other trooper is not talking at this time, which is what’s best for us. We don’t want to make it worse for him by talking about the details.”

Trooper Nicholas White speaks with Virginia State Police Lt. Chris Whitley after being unharmed during a collision with a semi-truck in Bristol, Va. (Virginia State Police)

The truck driver and the passenger in the passenger seat of the truck are being treated at a local hospital. There is no word on the extent of the injuries sustained in the crash, Virginia State Police said.

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