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Trooper hit in January snow storm wants changes made to ‘move-over’ law

A lieutenant with Iowa State Patrol wants stricter laws after he was hit by a semi during a snowstorm earlier this month.
Published: Jan. 23, 2022 at 11:18 PM CST
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MASON CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - A lieutenant with the Iowa State Patrol has recovered after being struck by a semi-truck during the January 14 snow storm; he said now changes need to happen to reduce the number of close calls.

“It was a typical snow, even on I-35,” Lt. Dana Knutson, a native of Manchester, said.

What started as a typical shift for Knutson took a turn for the worse when he was on the side of the road helping a semi that had gone into the ditch.

“I had just got off the phone and got a tow-truck lined up when I saw another semi spin out of control,” Knutson said. “I quickly put my car in drive and drove myself into the ditch. I wanted to put as much distance between me and the semi as I could. By doing what I did, I was hit by the trailer portion of the truck; had I stayed on the shoulder, I would have been hit by the tractor portion.”

Knutson said instances like what happened to him are happening too often. As a result, he said the Iowa Department of Public Safety wants to strengthen the “Move Over Law.”

“We want to crack down on the registered owner of the car,” Knutson said.

The law states that people need to move over and slow down anytime they see a vehicle on the side of the road with flashing lights. Knutson said the law aims to make it so violating the move over law would be like blowing through a stop sign of a school bus.

“When we are on the side of the road we can’t take enforcement to enforce the move over law,” Knutson said. “If we have a license plate number or something like that we can track down the registered owner and have them tell us who was driving.”

While Knutson has recovered from his injuries, he said changes needed to happen to keep this from happening to another trooper.

“I have never had that serious of an accident before,” Knutson said. “I feel very blessed.”

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