Virginia State Police vehicle hit by impaired driver while trooper conducts stop for separate DUI

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A Virginia state trooper is recovering after an impaired driver hit her patrol vehicle while she was stopped with another motorist for allegedly driving under the influence.

Virginia State Police said Trooper C. Aziz responded to a sedan stopped in the northbound lane of Interstate 495 in Fairfax County at around 3 a.m. on Tuesday. 

The driver of the sedan was still inside the vehicle and refusing to cooperate with the trooper’s requests to exit or move the car to safer location, state police said.

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Virginia State Police car damaged

Virginia State Police trooper C. Aziz was hit by an impaired driver early Tuesday morning while stopping a separate motorist for driving under the influence. (Virginia State Police)

While Aziz was dealing with the sedan driver, a Jeep Cherokee struck a tractor-trailer that was stopped in a travel lane because of where the sedan had stopped.

The Jeep hit the tractor-trailer so hard that it spun around and struck the trooper’s patrol car, which caused the patrol vehicle to hit the sedan that was pulled over and the trooper, who was standing outside the sedan’s driver-side door.

Dashcam footage from the trooper’s patrol vehicle showed the incident, which “amazingly” only left the trooper with minor injuries, police said. She was taken to Fairfax INOVA Hospital to be evaluated.

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VA trooper hit by car

Trooper C. Aziz was assisting another motorist believed to be driving under the influence when she was hit by an impaired driver on Interstate 495. (Virginia State Police)

The driver of the Jeep was identified as Joanna Hatch, 35. She was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, police said.

Erica Bernard, 43, was the driver of the sedan stopped on the side of the interstate and she was also arrested. She faces charges of driving under the influence of drugs, obstruction, possession of a schedule 1 or 2 substance, refusal of a breathalyzer/blood test and improperly stopping a vehicle on a highway.

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Both Hatch and Bernard were taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center.



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