MISSOULA, Mont. — You hear it time and time again -- slow down and move over for emergency vehicles. It’s Montana state law. But Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Nicholas Navarro says people still don’t slow down or move over.
On Sunday, Navarro experienced that firsthand. He was in his patrol vehicle on the shoulder of Interstate 90 when he saw another car coming right toward him.
"All of a sudden I see this car that is in the left-hand lane and appeared to have applied hard braking,” said Navarro. “And they started to do the swerving that you see back and forth."
"They were completely sideways heading right for my car,” explained Navarro. "I braced myself for impact. And right at the last minute, the car caught traction and hit the ditch right behind my car."
Just like that, the driver barely missed Navarro’s car, hopped back onto the road and drove away.
After six years with Montana Highway Patrol, Navarro says he has never had anybody come that close to hitting him.
MHP recorded a total of 74 slide-offs on Sunday. Most of the ones Navarro responded to were on I-90.
"All of mine were on straight sections of the interstate where you wouldn't think a crash or slide-off would happen," Navarro told NBC Montana.
Troopers do all they can to avoid these situations.
"We try to get traffic moving around us the best we can and give people enough time frame to be able to react so they're not having to do a quick reaction right at the scene," said Navarro.
Navarro was lucky to avoid this close call, but it just goes to show the risk troopers face every day to keep people safe.