A Nebraska State Patrol trooper was taken to a Kearney, Neb., hospital in serious condition Sunday after his cruiser was struck nearly head-on by a vehicle driven by an unlicensed 17-year-old.
Trooper Jeffrey Van Stelton, 28, was being treated at Good Samaritan Hospital. Deb Collins, a spokeswoman for the State Patrol, said Van Stelton has injuries to his pelvis, legs and arms.
Collins said the teenage driver, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital in Benkelman, Neb., where he was being treated for injuries that were not thought to be life-threatening. A passenger, Antonia Valdez, 40, was taken to a hospital in McCook and then transferred to Good Samaritan Hospital with leg injuries.
Collins said Van Stelton was traveling west on U.S. Highway 34 about 2 a.m. when a 2008 Ford Fusion crossed the center line four miles west of Stratton and hit his 2010 Dodge Charger. The cruiser continued into the south ditch before bursting into flames.
The Ford came to rest on the highway. Both the driver, who doesn’t have a license, and his passenger were believed to be from the Denver area.
Van Stelton is a six-year veteran of the patrol and is stationed in McCook.
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