‘His recovery will take months or even years': Trooper struck by car on I-485 remains in critical condition

Trooper struck while investigating deadly crash in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper remains in “very critical condition” at a hospital two days after he was struck by a car while investigating a fatal wreck on I-485.

Trooper Adolfo Lopez-Alcedo was near the scene where five people were killed in a wreck the night before when a car struck him Saturday morning on the outer loop of Interstate 485 at West W.T. Harris Boulevard.

According to a GoFundMe created for Lopez-Alcedo family, Lopez-Alcedo has a long fight ahead of him to recovery.

“He has suffered significant injuries to his body and brain, the extent of which have not been fully diagnosed, the GoFundMe said. “His recovery will take months or even years, will require countless medical appointments and unknown expenses for this amazing family.”

The State Highway Patrol is setting up a team of troopers to solely focus on patrolling I-485 for speeding, which they say is the major factor when it comes to crashes on highways.

The team will be made up of a handful of troopers and will focus on the area of I-485 where Friday and Saturday’s crashes happened, saying it’s the area that needs the most patrolling.

Trooper Lopez-Alcedo was in the process of shutting down I-485 on Saturday so that the Highway Patrol’s Reconstruction Team could relaunch some drones to get aerial photographs of the road, North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Ray Pierce told WBTV News.

He was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

“The trooper had made it to Exit 21,” Pierce said. “He started slowing traffic down. He exited his patrol vehicle, was in the process of shutting down lanes of travel when his vehicle was struck by a motor vehicle. His patrol vehicle then struck him at a high rate of speed.”

Trooper Lopez-Alcedo is assigned to Troop H, District 5 (Mecklenburg County) and is a two-year veteran of the State Highway Patrol. The North Carolina State Highway Patrol Collision Reconstruction Unit is conducting the investigation.

“Our Patrol family is hurting with the devastating news of Trooper Lopez’s injury, his family needs our prayers for what is undoubtedly an uphill fight,” said Col. Glenn M. McNeill, Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. “We will stand alongside our brother and his precious family in the hours and days to come and maintain hope that there will be a full recovery for this devoted public servant.”

Troopers are still investigating Saturday’s collision. The driver who struck the trooper’s car has not been charged, and Pierce said they’re “trying to piece together the sequence of events.”

“It has definitely been a tough 24 hours to say the least,” Pierce said.

The State Highway Patrol is setting up a team of troopers to solely focus on patrolling I-485 for speeding, which they say is the major factor when it comes to crashes on highways.

Five people were killed, including four members of a Belmont family, in a series of crashes on Interstate 485 Friday night started by a driver speeding at over 100 mph, authorities said.

Two of his Lopez-Alcedo’s friends from law enforcement training school are also coming together to figure out a way to support the family.

They say they all became very close friends in the eight month training program at a local community college.

“We built a bond that was unbreakable,” said Allen Smith.

“You would never find a more wholesome, I hate to use the word, sort of cliche, but just pure individual,” said Jacob Miller.

These friends are urging people to drive carefully and slowly, especially when there are first responders out on the roads.

“He was just out there doing his job, and the people not obeying this move over law and as a result, something like this happens,” said Smith.

Right now, state troopers are investigating the crash which injured Trooper Lopez-Alcedo.

So far no one has been charged.

A Go Fund Me has been created to help the family with medical costs. You can donate here.

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