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Va. trooper struck by drunken driver

By Wesley P. Hester
The Richmohond Times Dispatch
Related: What will it take for us to take drunk driving seriously?

SMYTH COUNTY, Va. — A Virginia State Police trooper remained in critical condition yesterday after being struck by a vehicle Friday night in Smyth County. The driver of the vehicle that hit the trooper's car was charged with driving under the influence, according to state police.

Trooper K.S. Chapman, 30, was seriously injured when a Ford F-150 pickup truck ran into the back of the trooper's vehicle just after 11 p.m. as Chapman was finishing a routine traffic stop along southbound Interstate 81 at the 38 mile marker. The truck then crossed back over the southbound lanes and ran off the left side of the road, overturning and coming to rest in the median.

The impact of the crash forced the trooper's vehicle across the interstate and off the shoulder.

Chapman had been sitting in his marked 2006 Ford Crown Victoria, which was parked on the right shoulder with its emergency lights activated, when his car was hit. He was flown by Med-Flight helicopter to the Bristol Regional Medical Center, where he was in the intensive-care unit, state police said.

Chapman has been with the state police for five years.

The driver of the pickup truck, Barry Dean Marshall II, 32, of Abingdon, was taken by ambulance to Smyth County Community Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Marshall has been charged with driving under the influence, state police said. The crash is under investigation.

Chapman is the second state trooper in four months to be struck and seriously injured by a driver believed to be under the influence of alcohol. The other incident occurred in mid-October on the Robert O. Norris Bridge over the Rappahannock River. That trooper returned to light duty last month after recovering from serious injuries, Corinne Geller, a state police spokeswoman, said yesterday.

Since 2002, Virginia law has required motorists to move over a lane or, if they are unable to do so, to slow down when passing emergency-services personnel and vehicles stopped on the side of the road.

Copyright 2008 Richmond Times Dispatch

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