WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW/WDAF) — The call no one wants to get. That’s how the daughter of a state trooper recalls the moment she found out her dad was hurt in the line of duty.
On Tuesday, April 26, around 9 a.m., Trooper Shawn Summers was inspecting a semitruck on Interstate 70 near mile-marker 144 in Ellis County.
“I had stopped a vehicle for a truck inspection on Interstate 70 and went up to the driver, opened the driver’s door and stepped up on the first step. Blessed that I did that. I wasn’t there just a few seconds talking with the driver, and it sounded like a bomb went off,” Shawn said. “I wasn’t sure if her truck blew up or what. I looked to her and looked in the front and seen the semi that had hit my patrol car go into the ditch and through the barbed wire fence.”
Another semi-truck had crossed onto the shoulder and hit him and his patrol car after not moving over to allow space for the stopped emergency vehicle, as required by Kansas state statute 8-1530.
“I’ve had people not move over before, but nothing of this magnitude. This was as close to a fatality as you could probably get,” Shawn said.
Shawn’s oldest child, Stanna, was in school when she received a call from her mom, informing her to call her back on her cellphone. Stanna said that she knew something had happened as soon as she got a call.
“I left the school and went to my car, and my mom said, ‘Stanna, your dad’s been in an accident. He’s in an ambulance, and he’s on the way to the hospital,'” Stanna said. “When you get those phone calls, you really don’t know what to do. It’s like time stops, and you get really sick to your stomach. I immediately left school and went to the hospital to see my dad, and I was just so grateful that he was talking because I had seen his car before I got there, and I thought, ‘He’s gone.'”
Grateful he is alive, Stanna said God must have been protecting her father on Tuesday.
“I went to the hospital, and they had let me in to see my dad, and he was in an emergency room bed, and I just ran and hugged him. Me and my dad were both crying,” said Stanna.
She told KSN News that the two of them always said “I love you” to each other before he would leave to work. She was grateful that wasn’t the last time she got to say that to him.
“His shoulder has been hurting him, and his ankle has been hurting him, but other than that, he has been very emotional, rightfully so,” said Stanna.
Stanna said her father doesn’t have any broken bones, but this should never have happened in the first place.
“If that semi would have moved over, my dad — I would have never gotten that call, my dad would have never been in the hospital. There are so many people that have died, lost their lives, because they just haven’t moved over,” said Stanna.
Shawn and Stanna believe that the law should be expanded to anyone that is stopped on the side of the road, not only emergency vehicles.
“I definitely think the law should be more than just emergency vehicles. If I were changing a flat tire on the side of the road, I would want someone to move over for me,” Stanna said. “I think it should go even deeper than seeing flashing lights. If you see anything on the side of the road, you need to move over.”
Stanna made a post on social media that has since gone viral, with more than 2,000 people sharing it. Stanna said she hopes it makes a difference.
“It makes me feel better that it is getting out and that it could possibly make a difference,” Stanna said. “To have it reaching other states is huge, and I’m so incredibly thankful for that, and I want to thank everybody who has supported me and shared the post.”
The Summers hope that everyone will hear their story, others like it, and move over next time they see any vehicle stopped on the side of the road.
“It has been so touching. We’re talkin’ [about] troopers, law enforcement families from across the nation that have talked about some pretty deep things that really will stick you in the heart,” Shawn said. “Every one of these could have been avoided.”
“You can replace metal, but you can’t replace a person, honestly,” said Stanna.
Stanna also says that her father is currently recovering at home and doing well.
“People need to keep in mind that they’re not only moving over for that person on the side of the road, they’re moving over for every single person that loves and cares for that person,” Stanna said.
According to Kansas Law, if you fail to move over for an emergency response vehicle on a highway, that could result in a $75 fine.