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Recent close call reminds us of traffic stop dangers


EAU CLAIRE, WI (WSAU) -  The close call that nearly killed a State Patrol trooper two weeks ago is not the first time officer’s lives have been in danger. In fact, there have been five State Troopers killed in the line of duty since the Wisconsin State Patrol was created in September of 1939. Of those five deaths, four of them have been traffic related. Lieutenant Jeff Lorentz of the State Patrol’s Eau Claire Post says three of those four have been in northwestern Wisconsin.

Lorentz says they prepare for many situations, but handling traffic is the most difficult and dangerous part of their job...NWS 5609 :27 sec. “...work environment.”

Lorentz says procedures have changed over the years as they learn more and improve equipment....NWS 5610 :19 sec. “...vehicles now.

Lorentz says the “move over or slow down” law is extremely important, but many drivers don’t understand that moving over and slowing down applies to every vehicle with flashing lights of any color, not just red and blue. This means you are supposed to move over and slow down for maintenance vehicles and tow trucks, too.

Jeff Lorentz has been with the Eau Claire post for 27 years, and served with Troopers Deborah McMenamin who was struck and killed by a vehicle in 1989 on Interstate 94 while doing a traffic stop, William Schoenberger who was in a crash just a few miles from McMenamin’s incident in 1993, and Jorge Dimas who died in a crash near Frederic on Highway 35 in 2009.

Here is a link to the memorials for all five troopers killed in the line of duty:


The original story about Trooper Charles Hotvedt’s close call, and the video of the truck narrowly missing him and the pulled-over car can be found on WSAU.com at this link:


You may listen to WSAU's interview with Lt. Jeff Lorentz by clicking on the black application button below the photo above.