Two Maryland State Troopers Struck By DUI Driver In Charles Co. – 37 Troopers Struck This Year While Stopped
(WALDORF, MD) – Two Maryland state troopers at the scene of a traffic crash in Charles County were struck by an impaired driver passing the scene, bringing to 37 the number of troopers hit while on traffic stops, crash scenes, or in construction zones this year.
The driver is identified as Ruth A. Runyan, 75, of La Plata, Md. She was charged with driving under the influence, driving while impaired, negligent driving, failure to change lanes for an emergency vehicle, and failure to obey designated lane directions. An ambulance was called to the scene to evaluate her for any injuries, but she refused treatment.
The troopers are identified as Trooper First Class Thomas Davis and Trooper Matthew Milich, both of whom are assigned to the La Plata Barrack. Neither trooper was injured in the crash.
Shortly before 7:00 p.m. yesterday, both troopers were on the scene of a traffic crash on northbound Rt. 301, south of Smallwood Drive. The troopers had their marked patrol cars parked behind each other in the slow lane of Rt. 301, protecting the crash scene ahead of them. Both patrol cars had their emergency lights activated and traffic was being diverted to the lanes on the left of the scene.
Both troopers were seated in the same patrol car when a 2007 Mazda MX-5 northbound on Rt. 301 struck the unoccupied patrol car and then spun into the patrol car ahead of it, where the two troopers were seated. The first patrol car struck sustained disabling damage and the second sustained superficial damage.
The driver of the Mazda was identified as Runyan. Troopers detected signs of possible impairment and conducted an investigation. Their investigation led them to arrest Runyan for driving while impaired.
A tow truck was called to transport the Mazda from the scene. When the tow truck arrived, troopers and deputies detected signs of that driver’s possible impairment. Further investigation led to the arrest of the tow truck driver by deputies from the Charles County Sheriff’s Office.
In addition to 37 state troopers being struck while on the side of Maryland roads this year, another 20 State Police patrol cars have been hit, fortunately, while the trooper was outside the vehicle. There is a clear purpose behind Maryland’s move over law. The purpose is to save the lives of our police officers, our emergency services workers, and our tow service operators.
The move over law requires drivers approaching from the rear an emergency vehicle or tow service vehicle using visual signals while stopped on a highway to, if possible, make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency or tow vehicle. This movement should only be done if another lane in the same direction is available and the move can be made safely and without impeding other traffic.
If moving to another lane away from the stopped emergency vehicle is not possible, the law requires drivers to slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.
Violating the move over law can result in a fine of $110 and one point. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash, the fine is $150 and three points. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash resulting in death or serious injury, the fine is $750 and three points, in addition to the devastating personal tragedies a crash like that will cause.