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North Dakota Highway Patrol trooper survives scare when semi nearly collides with squad car

A North Dakota Highway Patrol trooper narrowly escaped being hit by a sliding semi truck this afternoon on Interstate 94 between Valley City and Jamestown.

Trooper Ramone Gumke said he was sitting in his patrol car shortly after 1 p.m., providing traffic control as a tow truck prepared to pull out a charter bus that had slid off eastbound I-94 near the Sanborn exit, when a jackknifing semi came along.

"I saw him coming sideways in the rearview mirror, so I put it in drive and headed for the ditch as fast as I could and managed to not get hit," Gumke said.

The tow truck driver told Gumke the semi missed his car by "maybe three inches at best," he said.

No one was injured in the bus or semi, but it was nonetheless a "real scary situation," Highway Patrol Capt. Jim Prochniak said.

"It's just a reminder, not only to our guys, that you know it's a dangerous situation out there. It's icy, and people have got to slow it down," he said. "We're asking them 'til we're blue in the face, but it is glare ice out there."

Prochniak said he expects the icy conditions to continue tonight and Tuesday as blowing snow compounds the freezing rain that coated highways overnight.

"It's making for one of those endless days for the guys trying to cover these crashes and keep up, so folks really do have to keep it in mind, especially for their commute home tonight ... that travel conditions are less than ideal out there," he said, adding he could safely drive only 40 mph on I-94 at about 2 p.m.