The truck driver charged is set to appear in court on Wednesday, while the trooper remains off the job recovering.
Just before 8 a.m. on April 8, the semi was eastbound on I-94 near Lawrence, in southwest Michigan. The video from the semi’s dashcam shows the vehicle drifting from side to side in the lane.
Easton Norby-Varclac, a 24-year-old from Virginia, was the driver of the semi. The video shows Michigan State Police Trooper Cole Knaup parked in the right lane, blocking it after an earlier crash.
The semi, going nearly 75 miles an hour, starts to veer out of the right lane as it approaches the trooper’s vehicle.
At the last second, the trooper tries to get out of the way before being hit by the semi.
“It’s a miracle that he survived,” 5th District MSP Public Information Officer Duwayne Robinson said.
First responders freed Knaup from his vehicle and took him to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with a concussion. He also suffered cuts and bruises.
“We are very happy that wasn’t a fatal crash,” Robinson said. “It likely could have been one very easily. But thank God he was able to survive it with just the injuries he did have.”
Police photos captured the scene after the collision:
It’s been nearly three weeks now, and Knaup hasn’t returned to work.
“It was a very traumatic ordeal that he went through,” Robinson said. “So, he’s obviously at home, not only healing physically but also mentally just trying to get a grasp of everything that transpired, as well as his family.”
Robinson said police are not rushing Knaup back to work.
“These things take time,” Robinson said. “When he’s ready, he’ll return, and we’ll welcome him.”
Norby-Varclac remains in Van Buren County Jail. He has been charged with two felonies, including reckless driving causing serious impairment of a bodily function, and failure to yield to an emergency responder causing injury. Bond was set at $100,000 cash or surety.
Robinson said these tragedies happen to police more than you’d think. On May 6, MSP is taking part in a “Move Over” campaign to shine light on the issue.
Robinson said the goal is to show “how important it is to give a lane when you approach an emergency vehicle and to slow down.”
“Bringing attention to it will highlight the importance of the safety for those of us that are out there in our positions charged with keeping the public safe and keeping traffic moving safely day in and day out,” Robinson said.
The “Move Over” campaign is also in honor of Trooper Rick Johnson, who was struck and killed by a vehicle on I-94 in Van Buren County back in May of 2000.
“As law enforcement officers, we know that these things happen,” Robinson said. “Way more than the general public knows. That’s because we’re out patrolling the roads and policing crashes all the time.”