Family calls for harsher laws after trooper is struck by truck

Family calls for harsher laws after trooper is struck by truck on interstate

Trooper Joe Lindsay (Source: THP) Trooper Joe Lindsay (Source: THP)
Trooper Lindsay's vehicle after the accident. Trooper Lindsay's vehicle after the accident.
Stewart Snedeker (Source: Campbell County Sheriff's Office) Stewart Snedeker (Source: Campbell County Sheriff's Office)
The truck that Trooper Lindsay responded to. (Courtesy: Kasey Kurtz) The truck that Trooper Lindsay responded to. (Courtesy: Kasey Kurtz)

6 News Reporter

CLINTON (WATE) - A family member of the trooper injured in a hit and run crash is calling for harsher punishments for those who fail to follow the move over law.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol said Trooper Joe Lindsay was responding to a vehicle fire on the side of I-75 in Campbell County Sunday when a semi-truck plowed into his cruiser.

The truck's driver, Stewart Snedeker, left the scene. He was later arrested and charged with DUI, reckless endangerment and vehicular assault.

Trooper Lindsay's direct supervisor, Sgt. Dennis Smith, is the lead investigator of the crash. He said Lindsay is at home with his wife and four kids taking it easy, trying to recover.

But Sgt. Smith said the accident could have been avoided.

He says all too often emergency personnel are hit, injured and sometimes killed because motorists do not obey the move over law.

Trooper Joe Lindsay was responding to the clean-up of a truck fire before his patrol car was hit.

According to THP, Stewart Snedeker, driving a tractor trailer, hit trooper Lindsay's car and kept driving. Lindsay was injured and is now recovering from a fractured rib and vertebrae in his neck. Sgt. Smith has been staying in touch with him.

"He's very sore. He's in a neck brace but he's very upbeat, very optimistic. He told me he's ready to go back to work as soon as he can," said Sgt. Smith.

Lindsay's mother, Charlotte. says she is blessed her son is still alive, but says the accident could have been avoided if drivers followed the rules of the road. She wishes there were tougher punishments for motorists violating the move over law.

Anderson County District Attorney Dave Clark says it's something to look into.

"We are usually pushing for tougher punishment. Our legislators have to make tough decisions about taxes," said Clark.

He says drivers hit emergency responders all too often because they don't move over.

"We've had fatal accidents here in Anderson County recently as a result of folks not keeping a look out for construction, utility and emergency personnel," said Clark.

Sgt. Smith has been hit twice on the side of the road by motorists.

"Just a man out there doing his job and the risks that we face are great. If you can move over and slow down, you might actually save one of our lives," said Sgt. Smith.

Trooper Lindsay has been with THP since 2007. According to THP, he will take at least two weeks to recuperate.

"He's a very exceptional employee. He's very outgoing and he has a desire and he will make a recovery," said Sgt. Smith.

Sgt. Smith says Trooper Lindsay is thankful for the prayers and the calls of support he's received.

As far as the man arrested for the hit and run, he has no criminal history in Campbell County or the county. He's from in Illinois.

Snedeker will be arraigned on July 12th.

6 News spoke with another state trooper, Lowell Russell, who was nearly killed when a truck driver ran into his cruiser parked on the side of I-40 last year.

Russell released this statement:

"Trooper Lindsay, along with the other troopers, work hard every day keeping the roads safe. Although I don't know the specifics about the crash, I do know driving under the influence can have severe consequences. I have and will continue to pray for his recovery."

The truck driver who hit Russell, Eric Lewis, says he fell asleep at the wheel. Lewis is charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and failure to drive within a single lane of traffic.

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