Trooper returns to the road 13 months after crash with impaired driver

Sgt. Mike Krukowski
Sgt. Mike Krukowski was in his squad car when it was hit head-on by an impaired driver in May of 2018. Minnesota state patrol kept the remains to remind people of the importance of wearing a seat belt.
Sophia Sura | MPR News

Sergeant Mike Krukowski of the Minnesota State Patrol will return to full-duty status 13 months and three days after a devastating collision that broke both of his feet and one of his arms.

Krukowski said a seat belt saved his life, or prevented even more severe injuries.

"I know we hear a lot of that from the State Patrol of 'put your seatbelt on,' but this is evidence right here that seat belts really do work," he said.

On May 15, 2018, Sgt. Krukowski was in his squad car traveling southbound on Kenrick Avenue near 205th Street in Lakeville, Minn. At around 4 p.m., a vehicle veered off of Interstate 35W, went through the freeway fence and struck the squad head-on.

Sgt. Mike Krukowski
Sgt. Mike Krukowski of the Minnesota state patrol announces his return to full-time duty.
Sophia Sura | MPR News

Krukowski remembers seeing the grill of the car coming at him through the ditch seconds before impact.

The State Patrol says the driver, who was impaired, died in the crash.

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Krukowski said he was able to walk again by earlier this year, in April he could go for a run.

The State Patrol keeps the remains of the squad car as a reminder to drivers to wear their seat belts. Krukowski says when he looks at the car, he is thankful to be alive.

He said he is now more aware of how unpredictable life can be. He hopes to bring this awareness to people across the state.

"I returned back to full-duty doing the job that I love, which is in part educating people on the importance of wearing a seat belt, but also, educating other drivers about safe operations behind the wheel."