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Drivers hit 10 Minn. patrol cars already this year

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Minnesota State Patrol officials said drivers are hitting their squad cars at a surprisingly high rate this year – 10 times already, including four times in March. The crashes have resulted in two injuries.

That compares to 17 such cases in all of 2012; 26 in 2011; and 27 in 2010.

"The crashes are a reminder for motorists to drive at safe speeds, pay attention and move over for emergency responders on the shoulder of the road with their emergency lights activated," Department of Public Safety officials said in a press release.

The most recent incidents, according to public safety department:

– March 30 on Interstate 694 — Trooper's vehicle was rear-ended by a passing vehicle.

– March 19 on Interstate 90 near Albert Lea — Trooper was assisting a tow company with a vehicle in a ditch when another vehicle lost control, slid sideways and struck the squad.

– March 18 on Highway 169 — State Patrol squad was parked on shoulder and as the trooper exited the vehicle, a vehicle rear-ended the squad car.

– March 18 on Interstate 35W — Trooper was assisting motorist in a ditch, when a passing semitrailer side-swiped the trooper’s squad car.

Patrol officials remind drivers that fines can exceed $100 for not obeying "move over" laws: Drivers on two-lane roads must stay one lane away from stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights — ambulance, fire, law enforcement, maintenance and construction vehicles.

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