State trooper crawls from cruiser after crash

A tractor-trailer truck rests on top of a Rhode Island State Police cruiser after a crash on Interstate 95 in Providence, Friday, May 8, 2015. (RISP image)

His cruiser was left crunched.

A Rhode Island state trooper had to crawl out of his car after it was squeezed by a tractor trailer truck on I-95 in Providence early Friday morning.

State police said the crash was the result of a drunk driver plowing into a construction zone.

And it's not the first time something like this happened.

"Sometimes, they drive straight into the rear of the cruiser, like, straight on," state police Capt. Robert Wall told NBC 10 News.

An alleged drunk driver crashed into a cruiser on a construction detail two years ago on I-295 in Smithfield.

A string of crashes into cruisers in 2010, including one that killed a Massachusetts trooper, led Massachusetts State Police to look into a so-called "moth-effect," whether drunk drivers are attracted to flashing lights on cruisers.

There don't seem to be conclusive results that we found. But, Rhode Island State Police told NBC 10 they changed the light bars on their cruisers a few years ago, from red to red and blue. They're also now set at a different angle.

"They're not as bright at night due to a sensor on the dash that picks up the time of day," Wall said.

In this case, police said college student Lauren Woodbridge hit a crash truck, the vehicle parked at the rear of the construction zone for this very reason, to protect workers.

State police said a tractor trailer swerved to avoid the action and hit the cruiser.

"It certainly makes sense to me how a bright flashing light could be problematic for driving for anyone," Dr. Elliot Perlman of the Rhode Island Eye Institute told NBC 10.

He wasn't aware of a moth effect, but said the bright lights at night could create glare.

"If the light is very intense and very long, that glare can be from just something that makes you uncomfortable to something that can impair you vision," said Perlman.

But, Perlman and police add that booze is the main factor in these crashes, and changing the kind of lights may not matter much.

"If it's a highly intoxicated operator that may not have an impact," Wall said.

Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt in the Friday crash.

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