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Trooper involved in New Year’s Day wreck

By Jesse Evans, 01/3/13 2:25 AM

Photo by Kevin McKinnon (More photos below)

An Arkansas State Trooper was involved in a head-on collision in Prescott while responding to a call on New Year’s Day.

According to Lieutenant Brady Gore of Troop G, Trooper Bryan Christenson of Prescott was turning onto the westbound ramp of I-30 from Highway 371 around 2:25 p.m. when he failed to yield to a 2005 Pontiac Sunfire driven by Nita Nettles of Prescott.

While there was significant damage to both vehicles, neither Trooper Christenson or Nettles, who was the only occupant in her vehicle, were seriously injured.

Christenson was responding to the call of a westbound reckless driver on the interstate around the 50-mile-marker. The Trooper was traveling west on Highway 371 behind a tractor-trailer rig at the time he turned in front of the car.

Lt. Gore says all accidents involving Troopers are investigated by the State Police Crash Review Board to determine fault. He says the Trooper’s crash history is studied along with whether the crashes could have been avoided.

The board’s report will be submitted to Troop G Captain Jeff Jester who will then make a recommendation to Arkansas Highway Police Western Division Major Les Braunns in Little Rock. The information and recommendation will be used to make a determination as to whether disciplinary action or further training will be required for the Trooper.

Due to the nature of their work, crashes are a very real danger for law enforcement. According to the 2012 Preliminary Report published on The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s website, traffic incidents are the leading cause of on-the-job deaths for police officers. The good news is that they are down 17% in 2012 from where they were in 2011 after having gone up the past two years. In 2012 50 officers lost their lives in traffic related incidents compared to 60 in 2011.