ISP goes beyond call to assist injured ITD employee

Highways sometimes can be unpredictably hazardous for those charged with ensuing traveler safety. Maintenance workers are vulnerable even if they are out of established travel lanes.

Terry Smith knows that all too well.

On Jan. 11 he responded to a call from ITD snowplow operator who needed hydraulic fluid to continue plowing Idaho 36 near Strawberry Summit. Smith and snowplow operator Joe Nelson were parked in a turnout at about 7 p.m. when the driver of a vehicle lost control and crossed the centerline.

The vehicle struck Smith’s ITD pickup and pushed it into him while he was talking to Nelson. He sustained minor injuries and was transported by ambulance to Bear Lake Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released.

The ambulance crew wasn’t the only responder, though.

Idaho State Police Cpl. Bates was working in Franklin County on the other side of the summit when he learned about the crash over his police radio. Although he wasn’t dispatched to the crash, Bates voluntarily left his regular patrol zone and rushed over the summit to the scene.

He went well beyond normal duties, literally and figuratively, to ensure ITD’s Smith received needed medical attention. Bates accompanied Smith to the hospital and informed ITD colleagues of the incident. He also provided updates on Smith’s condition throughout the evening.

That shared concern over the well being of an ITD employee is evidence of the strong working relationship the two state agencies have developed and maintained over the years. Both share the fundamental mission of ensuring safety on Idaho’s highways. Bates’ actions demonstrate a mutual respect and concern for those who labor on the highways.

As this incident clearly shows, the Idaho State Police also share ITD’s commitment to providing Outstanding Customer Service and functioning as One Team.

Smith sustained cuts on his chin and will need corrective dental work. He was out of commission for two weeks and returned to work in District 5 this week.

Published 2-1-2013