State Police K9 Igor Miraculously Survives Patrol Cruiser Slammed by Semi-Tractor-Trailer

State Police K9 Igor Miraculously Survives Patrol Cruiser Slammed by Semi-Tractor-Trailer

By Stephen Owsinski

Although police canines handle tons of rigors when on duty and train continuously for just about every aspect of law enforcement, none expect to be idled in a police cruiser and slammed into by a semi-tractor-trailer traveling at significant velocity on a closed stretch of Interstate.

On January 12, 2024, a Traffic Alert was broadcast about a portion of Interstate 70 in Ellis County being shut down for a brief duration, with cars being diverted off one Interstate exit to re-enter again a bit down the road, effectively re-routing traffic flow “so tow trucks can remove a semi from the [snowy] median,” engendering a “30- to 45-minute estimated time of shutdown,” explained a Kansas State Patrol spokesperson.

(Image courtesy of Trooper Tod KHP Hays, Kansas.)

Kansas State Patrol Trooper Budke and Trooper Schulte “had I-70 shut down due to an overturned semi ahead,” explained another KSP report.

Policing in inclement weather such as heavy snow and blustery conditions wreaks havoc and certainly escalates the perils for everyone out there. This is exactly why law enforcement officers position their cruisers as visual landmarks to garner attention and, hopefully, compel people to consider ultra-safe choices. 

(Photo courtesy of the Kansas State Patrol.)

Although that scene involving K9 Igor’s handler was serious and important…no one knew that additional significant danger was headed that way…

As Kansas State Patrol (KSP) troopers stood outside their two patrol cruisers that blocked both lanes of the I-70 stretch, one housing/warming young, recently added police K9 Igor was slammed into by a seemingly distracted driver operating a semi-tractor-trailer that didn’t appear to even slow down. This, even as a neon-yellow-jacketed trooper waved incessantly for the trucker to yield and exit the Interstate.

What happened next is gut-twisting and graphically depicted via one of the two KSP patrol vehicles’ in-car camera system (automatically activated when the emergency lights are switched on). Here is the footage recently released by the Kansas State Patrol, showing the incoming horror contended by the troopers and the aftermath, followed by a brief report from KOAM News Now:

(382) [DashCam] K9 Igor to Veterinary ICU after semi slammed Kansas Highway Patrol car – YouTube

Miraculously, KSP K9 Igor pulled through that surreal ordeal, the twisted hunk of a KSP police cruiser starkly exhibiting the variety of unknown dangers in law enforcement anywhere, at any time, under all conditions, with guidance from rules, regulations, and laws governing the motoring public to traverse safely.

“The Kansas Highway Patrol would like to thank our personnel and all of you for the thoughts and prayers you all have shared for our K9 partner who was involved in the crash Friday afternoon on I-70 in Ellis County.

“Trooper Budke says that his K9 partner, Igor, is still in the ICU but slowly recovering. Your continued thoughts and prayers for a full recovery are welcome. Igor has been with the KHP [for] less than a year.

(Photo courtesy of the Kansas State Patrol.)

“Distracted driving is a serious problem on our highways and crashes like this one are 100% preventable!”

Distracted Driving

Indeed, distracted driving is increasingly fatalistic. Google those two words and you will get gore galore.

The Move Over Law, albeit helpful to an extent, is not heeded as empirically as public safety pros would like, either. Early January 2024, Florida rolled out an enhancement to its Move Over Law stipulations, adding that oncoming drivers must heed civilian motorists on the shoulder.

Heeding, heeding, heeding…the word that always applies on the highways and byways and could have left K9 Igor un-tossed in his confined space marked as a state police vehicle. Police canine cruisers are equipped with not only climate-control mechanisms, especially adapted for the furry ones to be as comfortable as possible, but also automatic door locks activated by a remote device maintained by respective handlers.

In K9 Igor’s case, though, everything happened so fast that the thought of pressing the “Release” button likely left an infinitesimal possibility of a different outcome. It’s a proverbially hard call…too close to tell. Indeed, the nanosecond cops have to make life-altering, on-the-fly decisions. 

Thankfully, K9 Igor is fortunate to be alive today.

Despite the neon-colored safety jackets donned by one of the troopers, and both lanes taken up by each of two marked cruisers with emergency lights activated, the trucker’s attention seemed elsewhere.

Mind you, the Interstate was ostensibly plowed and salted well, making for the typical blackish asphalt enabling relative traction for tires and a backdrop against which neon-yellow attire stands out (as designed and intended to accomplish).

Some comments on the Kansas State Patrol’s social media sites were not necessarily insensitive but somewhat off-base concerning the scene setup.  For example, one gentleman cited how snow-white conditions may have sort of camouflaged the two white KSP cruisers. That would be true…if not for the lanes already cleared of the white stuff, effectively contrasting white cop cars on black terrain.

Although some of KSP’s cruisers are black (pictured up top), none were present in this hellacious wreck. Can you imagine police agencies purchasing (taxpayers) an array of varying colored patrol cruisers to suit any imaginable condition? Unrealistic. And that is why statutes are written and signage is posted to steer drivers in directions and at safe operation to avoid catastrophes.

Travel Advisory

Although it wasn’t indicated anywhere in the reports I reviewed, Interstates nowadays have installations of overhead LED signs warning motorists of conditions and vehicle accidents, even alerting drivers of specific lane blockage, to heed precautions and accordingly yield promptly by vacating affected lanes. State agencies issue travel advisories so motorists can make proper decisions about whether to stay put or risk severe weather conditions.

(Photo courtesy of the Kansas State Patrol.)

Typically, overhead LED signs with messaging warning/guiding motorists are erected and operated by the respective state’s Department of Transportation, separate from the state-level law enforcement entity (but in coordination).

Some police entities, like the Florida Highway Patrol, are under the umbrella of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), thus duly covering operational objectives accordingly.

Snow is often deemed magical. In this case, it involved a maniacal outcome. Gratefully, it culminated in a miracle…and his name is K9 Igor.

As time surpasses and veterinarians re-examine Igor, they’ll assess his fitness for duty and potential return to work…

According to KSP Trooper Tod, “A big thank you to everyone for the prayers, calls, comments, and care packages Igor has received. Igor is recovering at home and is expected to be back at work in a few weeks.”

Indeed, a miracle!