courtesy MHP
Courtesy MHP

HELENA – The first major snowstorm of the year hit Helena Wednesday morning creating dangerous driving conditions.

The slippery, icy roads affected many drivers and a number of crashes were reported in the Tri-county area.

One crash involved Montana Highway Patrol Sergeant Jay Nelson.

His patrol cruiser was struck from behind while he was parked on the side of Country Club Road after responding to a one vehicle, non-injury slide off crash.

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His vehicle sustained only damage. The other vehicle suffered more damage.

No injuries were reported.

SGT. Nelson described the incident to MTN news.

“So at about 9:30 this morning I’d responded to another one vehicle non-injury crash,” said Nelson. “I had my emergency lights on and directional bar and parked as far off the road as I could when I looked down and the next thing I know I had a huge jolt.

“I was struck by another vehicle from the rear. I had to collect my thoughts and call dispatch to say I think I was okay and then I got out of the vehicle to make sure the other driver was alright.

“As you can see, the directional bar was on, the strobes were all on, the car came in, collided with me, did much more damage to her car than mine. But this could have been much more serious. This could have injured or killed me, or the other driver, or both.

“I never knew it was going to happen, but today it did. And it’s a scary thought. We wear a lot of equipment to protect us, but truly, vehicle crashes are just as dangerous to us officers, EMS, wrecker/operators, fire departments, you name it.

“We’re out there every day trying to save lives and be as careful as we can, but we need everybody to help us out.

“My message to drivers is to slow down.

“Everybody hasn’t been used to driving in this. Our brakes don’t work the same, we don’t have as good a steering. So down and take your time.

“And if you see those emergency lights plan ahead to crawl by them. Go very slow so that you can keep us safe out on the road.”

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