Maryland Woman Dies After State Trooper Hits Her Car, Pushing the Vehicle into a Tractor-Trailer

A Delmar woman died in Dorchester County on Friday evening after the car she was riding in was pushed into the back of a tractor-trailer by a Maryland state trooper’s car on Eastbound Route 50. Kristin Underkoffler was taken to Dorchester General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

The 34-year-old driver was sitting in traffic in her 2008 Hyundai when Trooper First Class Paul Zimmerman’s patrol car slid on a patch of ice and struck her vehicle. Zimmerman’s sirens and emergency lights were activated as he headed to an accident scene at the Vienna Bridge.

Underkoffler’s car rotated clockwise before hitting the tractor-trailer’s rear. Zimmeran’s vehicle also struck the truck, but he only sustained minor injuries. He got out of his car to assist Underkoffler until emergency workers arrived at the auto crash scene.

The tractor-trailer driver was not hurt. The Maryland State Police says they still do not know what speed Zimmerman was driving when the crash happened, but a complete investigation is under way. Several other motor vehicle crashes had occurred that day because of ice on the roads.

Speeding and driver distraction are two of the leading causes of United States traffic accidents, and it is the responsibility of all motorists, including working police officers, to make sure that they do not endanger other motorists and pedestrians. Failure to obey the rules of the road and pay attention to pedestrians and other drivers can be grounds for a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit if someone gets hurt or dies.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 314 people died during police chases in 1998. 2 victims were cops, 198 victims were the objects of pursuit, and 114 victims were not directly involved in the police chase.

Md. state police: Woman dies in crash with trooper,, November 22, 2008
Delmar woman dies after state trooper strikes her idling car, Baltimore Sun, November 22, 2008
High-speed police pursuits: dangers, dynamics, and risk reduction,, July 22, 2002

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