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'I gave them an extra-long hug,' Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper hit by distracted driver

Second time hit by driver while working
Ohio State Highway Patrol crash
Posted at 6:23 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 19:12:00-05

CLEVELAND — A mangled mess of metal is all that’s left of Ohio State Highway Patrol car 516.

“This 100% could have been deadly,” said Sgt. Ray Santiago, Ohio State Highway Patrol Public Information Officer.

Trooper Mylok Gardiner was assisting with an accident on Saturday at the I-480 I-77 split.

“In my rear-view mirror, I see a vehicle coming toward me,” said Gardiner.

But there was no place to go.

He tried to get out of the way as best as he could.

“Only place was this gore, the grassy area covered in snow,” said Gardiner.

Troopers said this is a classic case of distracted driving.

“She said she saw the lights looked down at her GPS and when she looked up it was too late, “said Gardiner.

The driver was cited for the crash and driving while distracted.

So far this year, 621 drivers received distracted driving violations statewide.

Ohio has a law requiring drivers to move over or slow down for flashing lights on the side of the road.

“We look at this car and are in disbelief and we’re grateful he is still here,” said Santiago.

The father of one, soon to be two, said he’s blessed to have walked away from the accident and lucky he went home to his family.

“They’re always on my mind. When I went home that night I gave them an extra hug because when you leave for work you don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Gardiner.

This is the second time Gardiner was hit while working, the first in 2016 in a construction zone.

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