March 8

Dashboard cam captures trooper's split-second maneuvers

A video released by Maine State Police shows Trooper Doug Cropper using his vehicle to intentionally cause a crash to stop a wrong-way driver on June 29.

By David Hench
Staff Writer

A video released by Maine State Police shows how Trooper Douglas Cropper positioned his cruiser in the path of a wrong-way driver on the interstate with less than a second to spare.

The cruiser video records Cropper's route on June 29 as he gets ahead of and ultimately intercepts a car headed north on the southbound lanes of Interstate 295 before it could crash head-on into oncoming traffic.

Cropper tried to flag down the motorist, and when the man didn't stop, Cropper jumped in his cruiser, backed up a short distance and headed onto the ramp.

The video shows how Cropper drove on Forest Avenue past the northbound entrance ramp, which was closed for construction, then turned left onto Marginal Way.

click image to enlarge

Maine State Police trooper Douglas Cropper stands beside his police car that was damaged while stopping a wrong way driver on I-295.

John Ewing / Staff Photographer

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He drove down Marginal Way, avoiding traffic moving in both directions, and turned to get back on the highway at the Mile 7 interchange at Franklin Arterial.

As Cropper pulls onto the highway, the video briefly shows a dark car headed north in the southbound lanes. The glimpse occurs at the 1:21 mark into the video. 

Cropper passes the motorist, then pulls sharply into the crossover connecting the north and south lanes, pulling the hood of his cruiser into the passing lane just as the 2010 Toyota Corolla, driven by Kenneth Gill, 88, of Scarborough, hits the cruiser.

The collision damaged the disc that was recording the information so the audio portion of the recording was not retrievable, police said.

The video, however, was recorded by the device's hard drive.

Nobody was injured in the crash.

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