A New York State Trooper was hospitalized after a pickup truck hit the back of his patrol car on Interstate 86. Trooper Craig Foglia was inside his vehicle during a traffic stop when the collision occurred, 13 WHAM reports. Foglia sustained serious injuries and was airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, where doctors have updated his conditionfrom “critical” to “guarded”.
13 WHAM reports that emergency crews took the 78-year-old pickup truck driver, Kenneth Aukett of New Jersey, to Robert Packard Hospital in Sayre, PA. His injuries were not life-threatening. In a press conference, Strong Memorial Hospital doctors said that Foglia had “critical, life-threatening injuries.”
While an investigation is still ongoing, State Police Major Rick Allen said in a statement to 13 WHAM that Aukett did not appear to have tried to stop. Various types of aggressive driving play a role in 66% of fatal car accidents, according to the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety, so driving at high speed without attention could be tragic.
“I can tell you, there was no braking, there were no skid marks; so he hit the car at highway speed,” Allen said. “He was struck at highway speed. It pushed his car into the car in front of him, and then all three vehicles off the shoulder of the road.”
TWC News reports that as authorities search for a cause, they have likely ruled out drunk driving, a conviction that can cost $20,000 or more. State Troopers will also be looking into whether Aukett was distracted while driving, or simply violating the state’s “Move Over” law. This law requires all drivers to switch lanes to create space for emergency vehicles and law enforcement, preventing dangerous crashes like this one.
“There’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop,” Allen said in a statement to 13 WHAM. “Any stop can turn deadly in an instant. It could be someone in the car who turns on you and becomes violent. Or, an instant like this, where another operator is not paying attention, or whatever happens, and they leave the road and strike you.”
Democrat and Chronicle reported this week that Foglia’s condition is improving. According to Strong Memorial Hospital, he is still expected to have a long recovery.
“The breathing tube was removed a couple days ago and I’ve been told, he’s slowly improving every day and we remain optimistic that he will continue to improve,” Trooper Mark O’Donnell, a State Police spokesperson, said in a statement to Democrat and Chronicle.
Democrat and Chronicle reports that charged have not yet been filed.