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Investigation continues into death of State Trooper

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Investigation continues into death of State Trooper
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Members of law enforcement agencies from around Western New York continue to mourn the loss of a 14-year veteran of the State Police, killed Saturday in the line of duty. State Trooper Kevin Dobson, 43, was killed when he was struck by a pickup truck, during a routine traffic stop on the highway Saturday morning. He was transported to Kenmore Mercy Hospital where he died from his injuries. As YNN’s Kevin Jolly tells us, police continue to investigate what exactly went wrong in those critical hours.

TONAWANDA, N.Y. -- As part of their investigation, the Accident Reconstruction Team returned to the scene of the accident early Sunday morning. This is the Colvin Boulevard exit that is the 290 East.

For safety reason we can't shoot on the Thruway but the Accident Reconstruction Team returned here Sunday morning to determine if environmental conditions such as sunlight or the road may have contributed to Saturday’s tragic accident.

"The Collision Reconstruction Units are specialists that reconstruct the accident with various types of equipment, mathematical formulas, and taking into consideration anything at all that can cause an accident" said Colonel Thomas Fazio.

Colonel Thomas Fazio says the Accident Reconstruction Team will take a look at every possible factor that might have contributed to the accident that killed Trooper Kevin Dobson Saturday morning.

"They're taking the measurements now and I would say there's been no determination that again he's entering the highway onto the ramp and stuff so we have to look at all the factors when we come to see if this in fact was a reason for failing to move to the left in this case here,” said Fazio.

Investigators are trying to figure out why the 71-year-old driver of the pickup truck failed to avoid hitting the trooper. Some of the factors investigators could focus on are road conditions, bright sunlight as the driver drove up the exit ramp heading East and driver error.

"As we said the vehicle was entering and coming on the acceleration ramp to Colvin Boulevard into traffic" said Major Christopher Cummings.

"We're going to look at every circumstance. Again, I named some of them here before because there's so many factors that could have contributed we want to get every single aspect investigated," said Cummings.

On January 1st, a law went into effect requiring motorists to slow down and move over when approaching a police car or emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road. The Ambrose Searles Law was named after two New York State law enforcement officers killed while making vehicle stops.

Now the flags are flying half staff at the Clarence Barrack where Trooper Dobson was stationed; a solemn reminder of the dangers officers face when making a routine traffic stop.

"This is exactly why the state legislature enacted that law. Whether it had a role in this case or not, if New York State citizens leave and vacate that lane when you see red light tragedies like this could be prevented," said Captain Steven Nigrelli, New York State Police.

The 71-year-old driver who hit Trooper Dobson has been cooperating with police and their investigation and so far no charges have been filed.

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