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Highway Patrol Cruiser Struck During Traffic Stop

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NASH COUNTY, N.C. — A Highway Patrol cruiser was hit during a routine traffic stop along U.S. Highway 64 bypass in Nash County early Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

State trooper Bryon Varnell had pulled to the side of the road at about 1 p.m. to assist in an accident that had just occurred, the Highway Patrol said, when a pickup truck pulling a trailer smashed into the back of the vehicle. No one was injured, authorities said.

"I heard the tires squalling, I glanced up and saw the truck coming sideways at us," Varnell said. "Next thing I know, I looked up and there were cars and stuff sliding everywhere."

The truck's driver, Christopher Campbell, told WRAL that an 18-wheeler pulled in front of him. He refused any other comment. Campbell was charged with reckless driving.

Last August, a state trooper was struck by a vehicle while he was standing along U.S. Highway 301 in Fayetteville during a traffic stop.

One month earlier, Gov. Mike Easley signed an amendment to the state's Move-Over Law that stiffens penalties for drivers who do not move to another lane when they see emergency vehicles on the roadside.

Under the amended law, which takes affect July 1, motorists in violation face a $250 penalty.

Since January 2002, more than 70 troopers have been struck either in or out of their patrol cars, according to the Highway Patrol.

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