Trooper helps trucker warm up, hears importance of safety


Sometimes the relationship between police and truck drivers can be a bit, well, contentious. Often, each is a bit suspicious of the other.

But, not all the time.

What follows is a Facebook post from Monday, Jan. 20, by Trooper Clausing of the Illinois State Police:

Today I had the opportunity to meet Malinda. Malinda is a truck driver and her truck broke down this morning which led to her being on the shoulder of the interstate unexpectedly. When I arrived on scene, I introduced myself and asked her how I could help. She told me her truck was down and the engine wasn’t running but her company had help on the way.

Ladies and gentlemen, she was cold!! It was 20 degrees this morning. Malinda was all bundled up wearing warm clothes but it doesn’t take long to get cold when it’s “can’t feel your face degrees below zero!”

Trooper Clausing of the Illinois State Police and Malinda, a trucker she helpedTrooper Clausing of the Illinois State Police and Malinda, a trucker she helped

I let Malinda sit in my nice warm squad car to wait for her help to arrive. Malinda apologized when she got in my car because she said her jacket was likely dirty since she had crawled under her truck before driving to do her pre-trip inspection. She talked about how important safety is to her. At one point during our conversation, she said ‘I drive like my life, like their life (referring to other drivers on the road), and like your life (referring to me and other first responders) depends on it. ‘ She told me how often she sees other drivers with their cell phone in their hand and how much it scares her. She told me about her hobbies, her kids, and what she plans to do for her birthday next month. We both joked about retiring and moving to the south to get away from the cold.

While we were waiting, another Trooper who was escorting an oversized load, drove by and gave us a quick siren tap to say hello. She asked if I knew him. I told her I didn’t, but that we all are family so we like to say hello. I told her if he wasn’t busy, he would have stopped to check on me. She thought that was cool. She said she and the other truck drivers do that with each other at the yards too. She said told me they get new drivers often and she tries to give them tips and help them out so nothing bad happens.

Before she got out of my car, she told me how thankful she was that I allowed her to sit with me. She said, ‘I’m just looking forward to getting home safe, getting some sleep, and coming back to work tonight do it all again.’ I told her how much I enjoyed talking to her and wished her luck.

I could tell Malinda was passionate about her job and she truly cares about the safety of everyone on the road. I wanted to share this story because it was so nice to hear her passion about safe driving. I know there are so many other drivers who truly care too. It means so much to us!!

Thanks for the good conversation Malinda, be safe!

-Trooper Clausing