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Murray • A Utah Highway Patrol trooper was critically injured on Friday night when he was struck by a vehicle while on duty in Box Elder County.
Trooper Eric Ellsworth was stopped near 13600 North on State Road 13 in Garland on Friday at around 9:45 p.m. to assist with a downed power line, UHP Sgt. Todd Royce said Saturday morning.
Ellsworth was trying to alert the driver of a semitrailer truck about the power line so the driver wouldn't snag it, Royce said, when a car heading south struck him. The driver of that car was a teenage girl, Royce said.
"It's still under investigation, why and exactly what happened," the sergeant said at a news conference at UHP offices in Murray.
As of 10 a.m. Saturday, Ellsworth was in "extremely critical" condition, according to UHP. He was flown by helicopter to the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, and his family is with him.
An account for Ellsworth's family has been set up at America First Credit Union under "Eric Ellsworth Family Charitable Account."
Royce said the trooper, who has been with the department for seven years, lives in Brigham City with his wife and three young sons. He is a second-generation UHP trooper his father also worked for the department and is now retired.
"It hits deep," Royce said. "... Right now, our attention is on the family, and making sure they get what they need. We love them and we're hoping to stand by them in this difficult time as much as we possibly can."
The Box Elder County Sheriff's Office will investigate the crash. Royce described the road where Ellsworth was struck as a dark, rural highway with a 55 mph speed limit. He could not say whether the teen driver was speeding before the crash.
The injuries to Ellsworth came 12 days after a fleeing driver hit and killed West Valley City police officer Cody Brotherson as he was attempting to deploy spike strips.
Royce reminded drivers to give UHP officials and other law enforcement officers plenty of space while they are working on Utah's roadways.
"Traffic is a danger," he said. "It's scary out there."