A Montana Highway Patrol trooper was hit in the back by a stopped car while trying to assist a crash victim on Interstate 90 Sunday.

Trooper Toby Baukema was assisting a Colorado woman that lost control on the ramp just west of exit 434 near Laurel around 2 p.m. Sunday.

Ayers identified the woman as 18-year-old Katie Painter of Fort Collins, Colo.

"The young female was traveling in the eastbound lane of Interstate 90 and had her cruise control set on the icy, snowy roadway," said Trooper Scott Ayers. "She lost control, rotated clockwise and bounced off the guardrail."

Painter's car stopped facing west on the eastbound lane with the driver's side door up against the guardrail.

Ayers said Baukema responded and tried to get her out of the vehicle.

"She moved over to the passengers side seat," Ayers said. "Toby got out and was trying to get her out with people still zooming by."

While Baukema was helping Painter, 20-year-old Theron Beck of Billings was driving eastbound, also with his cruise control on, lost control and hit Painter's vehicle head on, then bounced to the opposite guardrail.

You have free articles remaining.

Become a Member

The impact with Painter's stopped car caused it to hit Baukema in the back. Ayers said he was not seriously injured.

"Toby tried to run for cover, but the vehicle hit him," Ayers said. "He was sure he was going to be pinned between her car and his car - he even contemplated jumping over the jersey rail."

Baukema had a small abrasion on is left hand and a sore left knee. Ayers said he also had a sore neck and back. The trooper was able to drive himself to the hospital, where he was treated and released.

Painter, still inside the vehicle at the time of the collision, hit her head on the dashboard. Ayers said she broke her nose and was taken to Billings Clinic.

Beck was not injured in the crash.

Ayers said both drivers will be cited for careless driving.

"It never ceases to amaze me how many people drive in the winter with their cruise control on," Ayers said. "People also don't recognize that emergency lights mean you have to move away and slow down. I just wish people would slow down."

Get local news delivered to your inbox!

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.