Trooper OK After Being Rammed by Unlicensed Driver

Posted May 11, 2007 10:57 a.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2007 1:07 a.m. EDT

— A state Highway Patrol trooper was injured Friday morning when an unlicensed driver slammed into the back of his cruiser on westbound Interstate 40, authorities said.

Trooper R.W. Goswick was treated at WakeMed for a minor neck injury and was released, authorities said.

Goswick had stopped a transfer truck for an inspection on the shoulder of the highway between the U.S. Highway 1 and Gorman Street exits. While Goswick and the truck driver were in the cruiser, a truck hauling scrap building materials hit the back of the cruiser, authorities said.

"Trooper Goswick had a truck stopped out on I-40. He had the truck driver in his vehicle with him. He was conducting an inspection. Another vehicle ran off the roadway and struck the trooper's car in the rear," said Lt. Everett Clendenin of the Highway Patrol.

Omar Marino Zetino, 22, the driver of the smaller truck had alcohol in his system but not enough to be charged with drunken driving, Clendenin said.

"It doesn't look like the person who was driving the vehicle has a driver's license," he said.

Zetino, who has a Cary address, is charged with careless and reckless driving, driving with no operator's license and violating the Move Over Law, which requires drivers to slow down or move into another lane to provide extra room for emergency vehicles, Clendenin said.

The Highway Patrol is working with federal immigration officials to determine Zetino's immigration status, Clendenin said.

The truck Zetino was driving is registered to Speedy Construction and Removal of Wendell, he said.

The wreck marks the 79th time since the Move Over Law went into effect in 2002 that a trooper or a Highway Patrol cruiser was struck by a driver who didn't move over.

The tractor-trailer driver who was in the cruiser with Goswick refused medical treatment, authorities said.

The wreck caused traffic to back up across most of the southern portion of the Inner Beltline around Raleigh.