Coloma Township Police officer returns to duty after cruiser hit by a semi on I-94

Coloma Township Police officer returns to duty after cruiser hit by a semi on I-94. (Video Courtesy: Coloma Township Police)

A Berrien County police officer is back on the job after being hit by a semi that lost control in bad conditions on I-94 near the Watervliet exit last Wednesday.

Newschannel 3's Anna Giles spoke with the injured officer on Monday about why he thinks truck drivers need to be held more accountable.

Coloma Township Police Officer Wes Smigislski said the semi driver was going at least 65 MPH in whiteout conditions, which was way too fast.

The officer talked about dash camera video which showed the moment he was hit.

Smigielski was helping a woman recover from a slide off on I-94 when he found himself in need of help.

A semi-truck going too fast for conditions slamming into the back of his squad car and sent it spinning.

Smigielski said, "I didn't know the hit was coming so that kind of made it a little bit worse. It pushed my head forward, I lost my breath. Really what goes through my mind was 'Hey I'm breathing, I'm alive and I'm going home'."

The woman he helped was also hit, but ended up being okay.

The incident left Smigielski rattled.

He said, "At the time this accident happened you couldn't see more than 20 to 30 feet in front of you and he's still doing 65 miles an hour. It just doesn’t make any sense to me."

He says most first responders agree this is a common problem with semi-truck drivers.

He said, "let’s start drilling these truck drivers a little bit more for their actions."

Understanding many truck drivers have strict delivery deadlines, Smigielski believes lawmakers should pass stiffer restrictions on truck drivers who cause injuries in a crash.

He said, "If they get 3 months license suspended for injuring an officer or injuring somebody in an accident that is deemed their fault for going too fast, maybe they will think twice."

A slight warm up in temperatures that have helped clear roads throughout the day, but police warn drivers about black ice that can form on the roads as temperatures drop overnight.

Smigielski's message to all drivers is please slow down.

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