Sandy, UT – A Utah state trooper heroically risked his life himself to protect others by intentionally crashing into a wrong-way driver on the interstate (video below).
The incident occurred on Interstate 80 near Lake Point shortly before 3 p.m. on April 18, KSL reported.
Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) Sergeant Chad McCoy had just gotten off shift and was traveling home in is patrol car, completely unaware that emergency dispatchers had just put out a call about a pickup truck heading eastbound in the westbound lanes of the interstate.
“I had just finished my shift in Salt Lake County,” Sgt. McCoy told KSL. “I had just crossed over into Tooele County. I didn’t hear anything on the (police) radio at that time. I just noticed ahead of me cars moving to the right, and then this truck that was facing the wrong direction and then I realized it’s actually traveling at a pretty high rate of speed.”
The sergeant said he immediately activated his cruiser’s red and blue overhead lights to let the drivers behind him know there was a problem and to also get the attention of the oncoming driver.
But the reckless suspect was undeterred.
“Quickly I saw they weren’t pulling over [or] stopping. So, I just tried to get the best angle that I could to try and stop him,” Sgt. McCoy told KSL.
The 12-year UHP veteran slowed his patrol unit down to about 15 miles per hour and aimed the front driver’s side of his vehicle towards the front driver’s side of the pickup truck in order to avoid a full head-on crash.
He said he was thankful for his training and that his actions were essentially instinctual, KSL reported.
“We often talk about playing the ‘What if?’ game. What if this or that were to happen to you? Because we know in those situations where we only have seconds to act, we don’t have time to think things through,” Sgt. McCoy explained. “So, I think a lot of the preparation happens before the moment that it happens. So, in those few seconds, it’s just more of a reflex than a long thought process.”
The collision was captured on the deputy’s dashcam.
The pickup truck, which was pulling a U-Haul trailer, slammed into the patrol unit, spinning it a full 180 degrees as other drivers scrambled to come to a stop.
The crash brought the truck to a halt and demolished the front end of Sgt. McCoy’s vehicle, KSTU reported.
Today our Utah State Trooper placed himself directly in harms way to stop a Wrong Way Driver before it collided with traffic immediately behind him. We pray for a quick recovery, and we are grateful and proud of his willingness to put the safety of others ahead of his own. pic.twitter.com/vyNupwa5s0
— Michael Rapich (@ColonelRapich) April 19, 2023
The sergeant was uninjured in the collision, and the driver of the pickup truck suffered only minor injuries.
Sgt. McCoy’s wife, Nicole, said she is thankful her husband survived and made it back home to her and their four children, KSTU reported.
“Just seeing him, I just wanted to hug him, but I didn’t know if he was injured so it was more he’s standing, he’s alive he’s breathing so let’s get him to the doctor,” she told the news outlet.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox praised the veteran trooper for his selfless actions.
“This trooper had just finished his shift and was on his way home when he saw a car coming at him going the wrong way,” Cox said on Wednesday, according to KSL. “He knew he had one chance to protect the drivers behind him. Without hesitation he put his own life on the line. I’m grateful for heroes.”
UHP Colonel Michael Rapich said the agency is “extremely proud” of Sgt. McCoy’s quick thinking, KSL reported.
“Today our Utah State Trooper placed himself directly in harm’s way to stop a Wrong Way Driver before it collided with traffic immediately behind him,” Col. Rapich tweeted on Tuesday. “We pray for a quick recovery, and we are grateful and proud of his willingness to put the safety of others ahead of his own.”
The 62-year-old driver of the pickup truck had not been arrested or charged in connection with the incident as of Thursday, KSL reported.
The Tooele County Sheriff’s Office is handling the ongoing investigation into the wrong-way driver.
Watch the incident unfold in the video below:
@UTHighwayPatrol Sergeant bravely put himself in harm’s way by colliding with the wrong-way vehicle to bring it to a stop and preventing potential harm to other motorists on I-80 in Tooele County.
Thank you for your commitment to #KeepingUtahSafe! #Utah #Tooele pic.twitter.com/Ak7y6jdQYQ
— Utah Public Safety (@UtahDPS) April 20, 2023