Oops! Distracted driver plows into State Patrol car

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The Minnesota State Patrol just recently wrapped up a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving. More than 500 motorists were cited.

Now add one more. Two images of a crash scene in Mankato, uploaded to the photo-sharing site Imgur as well as Reddit, show that a driver smashed into a State Patrol car parked on the side of the road.

A State Patrol spokeswoman told BringMeTheNews that the car bashed the trooper's vehicle Wednesday afternoon on Highway 22 near Madison Avenue, which sent the squad car into the pickup truck in front of it. No one was injured and no ambulance responded, although the drivers planned to get checked out on their own, authorities say. All drivers had been belted in.

The 17-year-old who drove into the trooper's car told investigators she had been looking backward as she changed lanes. She was charged with inattentive driving.

The State Patrol last month released video that showed a motorist traveling at highway speed who nearly hit a parked patrol car on the side of Interstate 35. That driver, who had been looking for music on his cellphone, was also cited.

More than 86,000 crashes were attributed to distracted driving during 2009-13 – 25 percent of all crashes in those five years, according to state statistics.

State officials also cite these eye-opening numbers: In 2013, inattention was the contributing factor in 17,598 crashes (23 percent of all crashes), 68 fatalities and 8,038 injuries.

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