Police urge caution after Illinois State Police car struck

By Marc Strauss

August 13, 2010 Updated Aug 13, 2010 at 10:18 PM CDT

The accident happened on westbound I-74 near the Monroe Street overpass in downtown Peoria.

Illinois State Trooper Tom Filman had pulled over in his squad car to assist a motorist Thursday evening at about 6 pm when he was rear-ended.

Captain Dean Kennedy says Filman was lucky his injuries weren't serious.

"It could have been a lot worse," said Kennedy. "He was in enough control that he slowed down and it was a very minimal bump. We've seen a lot worse than that."

The driver, 44 year-old Ronald Grap of Metamora, was ticketed for failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident. Kennedy says some incidents wouldn't happen if motorists simply paid attention to the entire road and not just the lane they're driving in.

"A lot of people drive looking down over their hood. They don't see what's down the road. If they would just take the time to look ahead and scan the road ahead they're going to see these things before they come up."

Lt. Jim Howell spent 4 years with the Illinois State Police motorcycle enforcement bureau. He says cops on bikes are especially vulnerable.

"Motorcycles are inherently hard to see making them more vulnerable to becoming involved in a crash," said Howell. "Individuals when changing lanes need to look before they make the lane change to make sure the lane is clear."

Construction zones would appear to be one place where drivers are exercising caution. According to IDOT there have been 14 fatalities in Illinois construction zones so far this year and one worker killed. In 2009 there were 31 fatalities and 5 workers who died.

And Kennedy adds that while the speed limit in most construction zones is 45 miles per hour, the sight of a worker with a sign that reads "slow" means drivers should go even slower.