Hurt trooper struck in I-55 passing lane

Friday, June 25, 2004

St. Louis resident Talisa Jackson saw the police lights and the black sport utility vehicle that had just been pulled over. She switched over to the left lane when she said Cape Girardeau state trooper Sgt. Bradley Lively "hopped" out in front of her rental car, trying to wave her to the side of the road.

It was there, in the left lane, about three miles north of Center Junction, where Lively's life changed. Lively's battered body traveled more than 60 feet by the time he came to rest. He landed in the grassy median, his legs broken, but his mind still alert.

Several new details of the June 14 crash involving Lively are unveiled in a Missouri State Highway Patrol report obtained by the Southeast Missourian.

[ Browse a diagram of the accident ]

Lively is still recovering from the accident that occurred shortly after 10 a.m. 11 days ago.

According to the report, Jackson, 23, said: "I saw the police pull over the black truck ahead of me. He hopped out of his car and ran into the middle of the street waving his hands and moving side to side for me to pull over. As I was trying to pull over, he hopped in front of the car. I tried to avoid hitting him and it was like he hopped right in front of me. I was in the right lane. He hopped in front of the car and I could not avoid him."

The report, signed by trooper Shawn Price and Sgt. Mitch Heath, said the driver "failed to yield as instructed" and said Jackson was "inattentive by failing to follow the direction of a law enforcement officer."

Three attempts to reach Jackson by telephone Thursday failed. Messages placed with the two passengers of her car were not returned.

The report said Jackson was traveling straight, changed lanes, slowed down and then struck Lively.

A diagram attached with the report shows that Lively, 37, was hit in the left lane and came to rest 60 feet from the point of the accident in the grass median. His sunglasses flew in a perpendicular direction from the area of impact and landed about 10 feet away. Shoe scuffs were found at the point where Lively was hit and again eight feet up the northbound lane.

Damage was done to the front of Jackson's car, to the windshield and the driver's door.

Charles Humes of Jackson was one of eight witnesses listed on the report.

Humes told the Southeast Missourian he was heading northbound when Lively pulled over the black SUV. He said he saw the accident unfold in his rearview mirror.

"When I looked in the rearview mirror, he was stopped on the interstate, waving both his arms, flagging another vehicle to pull over," Humes said. "I looked back up again and saw the red car strike Mr. Lively. It almost looked like he was in the center of the interstate and it looked like the car could have passed on either side of him."

Humes said that by the time he pulled over, stopped and walked back, others were already tending to Lively. He said Lively attempted to get up, but others on the scene told him to lie still.

"That was something you don't forget easily or soon," Humes said.

The report said Lively didn't remember what happened. Highway patrol spokesman Larry Plunkett of Poplar Bluff said he didn't know whether investigators have asked Lively about the accident since he's been at the hospital.

Plunkett said Thursday that flagging down additional vehicles isn't something that happens every day, but it's not rare either.

"It depends on the traffic," Plunkett said. "Sometimes we see vehicles run in packs, running together at a high speed and we might try to flag them over, much like an aircraft operation."

A in-depth investigation by the patrol is ongoing.

Plunkett couldn't offer many details about the investigation other than to say investigators are probably drawing out a more specific diagram and "running through every scenario."

The information will be delivered to the Cape Girardeau County prosecuting attorney, who will determine what charges, if any, will be filed.

Plunkett said Lively is now in a private room at the hospital but will still have additional procedures. Plunkett said it will be a few weeks before Lively finds out how much he may recover.


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