NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Two Virginia State Police troopers escaped serious injuries Saturday morning, when they were hit by motorists in separate incidents hours apart on Interstate 64.
Jesse F. Dennis is the fourth trooper to be struck and injured while sitting in his patrol car on an interstate in the past four months, an agency spokeswoman said.
Dennis had pulled a motorist over on eastbound I-64 just east of J. Clyde Morris Boulevard and was filling out a summons while sitting in his patrol car - with lights activated - when another car slammed into it at 7:23 a.m.
In the second incident, a trooper riding a motorcycle eastbound on I-64 was hit by a motorist at 11:25 a.m.
The trooper was taken to Riverside Regional Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.
Darnell Lamont Hinton, the 27-year-old driver of the 2007 Chevrolet Equinox that hit Dennis' vehicle, told investigators that he fell asleep at the wheel. That caused his vehicle to drift off the right side of the road into Dennis' vehicle.
Hinton, who lives in the 1700 block of Chestnut Avenue in Newport News, was treated for minor injuries at Riverside.
He was charged with one count of reckless driving.
Hinton's Equinox hit the patrol car with such force, it sparked a small fire beneath Dennis' vehicle.
Dennis was also treated for minor injuries at Riverside.
The motorist been stopped by Dennis wasn't injured. Dennis was participating in a traffic safety initiative that ran Friday and Saturday, with troopers concentrating on Interstates 64, 264, 464 and 664.
Three other Virginia troopers injured recently include J.T. Mahalik on Interstate 66 in Fairfax County on April 30; Master Trooper J.H. Rasnick on Interestate 81 in Boutetourt County on May 13; and Senior Trooper P.C. Gardner on I-81 in Rockbridge County on June 16.
Mahalik was the most severely hurt when his vehicle became engulfed in flames after being hit by a passing vehicle.