A Connecticut state trooper is recovering from a Thursday night crash in a construction zone in Wethersfield.
Michael Gauvin of East Hartford was charged with driving under the influence after his jeep ended up partially on top of the trooper's cruiser.
State police said Det. Patrick Dwyer's cruiser was parked along Route 3 on the Wethersfield side of the Putnam Bridge.
"There's no excuse for it, and this is how people get killed," said Trooper Tyler Weerden, Connecticut State Police.
According to investigators, another vehicle was parked behind the state police cruiser as protection.
Troopers said a Jeep Wrangler driven by Gauvin crashed into both vehicles around 11:15 p.m. Thursday. He side-swiped a Department of Transportation truck and rear-ended the cruiser.
His vehicle landed partially on top of the cruiser and a jersey barrier.
"If anyone was out of their car or between the crash truck and their cruiser, we'd be dealing with a fatality this morning, no question," Weerden said.
Investigators believe Gauvin lost control and hit the center median before hitting the state trooper's cruiser.
Weerden said he's thankful the crash wasn't worse.
Dwyer was transported to Hartford Hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
Gauvin was transported to the same hospital for minor injuries and was released.
He later admitted to drinking alcohol. Troopers said he did fail a field sobriety test.
In addition to DUI, he was also charged with failure to maintain a proper lane and failure to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles.
He'll face a judge in Manchester on Nov. 21.
State police said the crash marked the third day in a row that they've had vehicles struck in construction zones.
Thursday morning, a driver on Route 8 south in Bridgeport hit another DOT truck. That driver was cited.
Wednesday, a driver with a suspended license hit a DOT truck on Interstate 95 in Milford. He has a court date.
"We see across the country large numbers of DOT workers getting killed from these violations," Weerden said. "Troopers getting killed [and] tow truck drivers. Even if it's a regular driver pulled over on the side of the road, you should be slowing down and moving over."
Moving over is a law in Connecticut. Dash cam video from a state police cruiser last year shows just how important it can be. People and the trooper in it barely escaped a crash alive.
The union representing many of the DOT workers said they've noticed a change in the way drivers drive over the past 5 to 10 years. However, they really noticed it taking a big turn in the past year or two.
"People are traveling way too fast, they're distracted on devices, and they don't seem to slow down when they see a work zone," said Ron McLellan, Connecticut Employees Union president.
Drivers like Nick Mancini said they see it all the time.
"A lot of these people driving today, they just don't care," he said. "They're not paying attention, they're texting [and] using their phones."
Troopers said if drivers see someone using their phone or driving recklessly, call 911.
"Hopefully with some education and some enforcement, we can make it better for the folks who work out there," McLellan said.
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