State Troopers Make Lifesaving ‘Blood Runs’ Across Wyoming [PHOTOS]
A Wyoming Highway Patrol Lieutenant sped down Interstate 80 at speeds of 110 mph or more on Feb. 3 -- not in pursuit of a suspect, but to deliver blood platelets to a hospital that desperately needed it.
""Sometimes hospitals run completely out of blood, and they have someone in surgery," said Patrol Lt. Tim Romig in a press release from WYDOT. ""Sometimes the need can be because of a bad crash."
In such an event, a hospital in need will put in a call to the Wyoming Highway Patrol seeking a blood delivery. If the situation meets certain requirements, troopers are organized to relay the blood from Cheyenne to wherever it may be needed.
"It must be an emergency," Romig said. "We run 'lights on.' But it's a life-saving service we provide."
Troopers answer the call regardless of conditions -- even if the forecast calls for 75 mph winds on certain segments of I-80.
"Someone's life hangs in the balance," Romig added. "The hospital can save someone's life with (the blood)."
Troopers make blood runs several times a month -- sometimes participating in multiple relays in a single day.
The relay on Feb. 3 involved four or five troopers, with each officer driving a section of highway they know fairly well. Breaking the trip up between multiple troopers helps keep the troopers and other drivers safe; the officers drive more attentively in shorter segments than they would if they had to drive for two to three hours at a time.
"We try to do it as quick as we can," Romig said, adding that safety is always paramount. He says he doesn't want to surprise drivers and cause them to do anything that could be dangerous, such as changing lanes too quickly. He says he wants a clear path, but doesn't want drivers to think they're being pulled over.
"People can't always hear the siren or see the lights until the patrol car is close," Romig said. He calls it 'outrunning your siren.'
"These people don't know how important what we're carrying is," he added.
Romig made the 26-mile trip from United Blood Services in Cheyenne to the Albany County line, where he met another trooper, in about 18 minutes. He estimates that he averaged roughly 90 mph.
While troopers play a critical role in the life-saving blood runs, they aren't the only ones.
"Without the plows and sanders, we wouldn't be able to drive through on these roads," Romig said. "Without the mechanics we wouldn't have serviceable vehicles. And without dispatch and the (Transportation Management Center), we wouldn't have the information we need to make the trip. All of this ties together and saves someone's life."
And none of the troopers involved will ever meet the person they helped.