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State Trooper hit by wrong-way driver shares story amid push for safer driving

Connecticut transportation officials announced a new ad campaign to crack down on severe, head-on crashes.

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. — Months before state Rep. Quentin Williams was killed in a head-on crash hours after being sworn into his third term, Connecticut State Police Trooper Shaquile Williams was also hit and injured in a wrong-way crash in the same area on Route 9.

“He came around the corner and I couldn’t avoid him. He hit me head-on,” Trooper Williams said. “He was on a mixture of cocaine and PCP. He was also drinking.”

That was in April 2022, the same year 23 people were killed in head-on crashes in Connecticut. The issue of wrong-way crashes hits home for lawmakers who lost one of their own this year and for Troopers who put their lives on the line to stop wrong-way drivers.

Transportation officials say wrong-way driving is an impaired driving issue because 80% of wrong-way crashes involve impaired drivers. Friday, the legislature’s transportation committee debated a bill that would lower the blood alcohol level for drivers from .08 to .05. 

Trooper Williams, now a five-year veteran of CSP, arrested the driver and was back on patrol three weeks later. By the time troopers reach most wrong-way reports, drivers have already corrected themselves or exited the highway. When they haven’t, Troopers put their lives on the line.

“You’re never going to expect someone coming at you the wrong way when you’re driving 65 miles an hour. That’s what makes it severe,” Trooper Williams said.

Trooper Evan Goddard was also hit by a wrong-way driver on I-84 in East Hartford in 2020 shortly after being sworn in as a Trooper.

“I had to maneuver my vehicle in a way so that their vehicle would not continue going in the wrong way,” Trooper Goddard said. “You want to get there quickly so you can hopefully get there and intervene before they make contact with someone else. But you also want to get there safely so you’re not going 100 miles an hour into a wrong-way driver." 

Trooper Goddard spent three months in recovery.

Friday, Governor Ned Lamont joined transportation officials and lawmakers in Southington where he unveiled a new ad campaign against wrong-way driving.

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“Wrong-way driving crashes are many times more likely to be fatal than other types of car accidents," Lamont said. "It’s shocking how quickly the number of wrong-way driving incidents has been accelerating over these last couple of years.”

The ‘One Wrong Move’ campaign was paid for with Federal Highway Administration dollars.

Lawmakers allocated $20 million last year to add flashing red lights, reflective paint, and police notification technology to more than a dozen off-ramps across the state—a fraction of the more than 200 off-ramps deemed high-priority by transportation officials.

Samaia Hernandez is a reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at shernandez@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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