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Trooper back on roads two years after accident

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Posted at 10:03 PM, Feb 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-08 23:07:27-05

MENASHA, WI -- Two years after an accident nearly killed him, one Wisconsin State Trooper is back on the roads, saving lives.

In January of 2014, Trooper Justin Hansen's life would change forever while responding to a crash on I-41. But the loss of part of his right leg hasn't stopped him from pushing forward.
 
Along U.S. Highway 10, in Calumet County, today is another day for trooper Hansen of cracking down on speed violations.
 
"Like clockwork, there we go," says Hansen, clocking in a speeding SUV as he peers through the scope of his radar gun, "[we're] going to pull over this GMC."
 
The chase is brief. As cars and trucks race past his squad car, he hesitates momentarily, checking his rear view mirror one last time for oncoming traffic. 
 
 "That's when we're most at risk, is during a traffic stop," says Hansen, returning to his squad with the driver's ID, "especially on busier highways, like I-41."
 
This driver is leaving with a warning, and a reminder that it's all-too-easy to lose control of a car in snowy conditions. 
 
"That's how my injury occurred. It wasn't a day like today, it was a little more snow," recalls Hansen, watching the snow fall softly, but steadily, around his car, "but it wasn't a big snowstorm."
 
Two years earlier, on an off-ramp of the interstate near Neenah, Trooper Hansen was pinned against his squad car by an out-of-control driver, breaking his left leg, and forcing a partial amputation of his right.
 
"Having to learn to walk again on a prosthetic limb, but also having to learn to walk again with your 'good leg' was very challenging," says Hansen.
 
But Hansen never lost hope, and after months of physical therapy, he says he's ready to once again enforce the law.
 
And on a night, like tonight--with road conditions slick, and greasy--the message of "slow down, and move over for state troopers" is as poignant as ever.
 
"The one that hit me wasn't the only one that crashed," reminds Hansen.
 
Hansen has been a State Trooper since 2011, and officially returned to the roads with a partner in November. He's now riding solo.
 
Trooper Hansen is currently the only trooper assigned to calumet county, and is primarily responsible for patrolling its busy county roads.