MURRAY (ABC4 News) – The most thankful person in Utah this Thanksgiving may be a Utah Highway Patrol trooper who has narrowly escaped death twice in the last five months.
Both times Trooper Riley Rugg was outside of his patrol cruiser investigating an accident when it was struck by an oncoming vehicle.
On Monday, Trooper Rugg’s dashboard camera shows him assisting a driver who had spun out on I-15 near 7100 South in Midvale when he notices a speeding car start to slide.
He runs to leap over a retaining wall just before the car slams into the back of his UHP vehicle pushing it toward him.
His body camera also captured the terrifying moment from his perspective. What else was Trooper Rugg seeing?
“A little bit maybe of my life flashing before my eyes,” he told reporters.
“It started veering towards my vehicle and kind of last minute I was able to run around the front of the person’s car and jump over the wall before they impacted my car…I was a little worried that he was going to maybe squeeze between my car and the wall and maybe hit me so I just tried to get over the wall so the concrete barrier could protect me…I was lucky to get over the barrier in time and avoid getting hit by the car.”
Holiday weeks seem to be a treacherous time for the 22-year-old husband and former Marine who’s only been on the job for 14 months.
“I had a pretty close call 4th of July Weekend this year,” he said.
On July 7th he was working an accident along I-80 in Parley’s Canyon and had just walked away from his patrol vehicle when a speeding Ford F-350 pickup rolled over the top of it.
That day the driver of the truck was ejected and flown to the hospital but Trooper Rugg and the driver in the original crash escaped unscathed.
“It’s a miracle that we weren’t hurt,” he said afterward. “Just a mile an hour or two difference in speed could have made the situation a lot different better or worse so I’m just grateful how it happened that we weren’t injured.”
Despite the two close calls, Trooper Rugg doesn’t have any second thoughts about his career choice. He’ll be out patrolling the highways this Thanksgiving weekend.
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