A Nebraska State Patrol trooper received serious injuries when his patrol unit was struck nearly head-on by an unlicensed 17-year old driver.
Just before 2:00 a.m., Sunday, April, 22, Trooper Jeffrey Van Stelton, 28, was traveling westbound on U.S. Highway 34, about four miles west of Stratton, in Hitchcock County when a 2008 Ford Fusion, crossed the center-line striking his 2010 Dodge Charger nearly head-on.
Trooper Van Stelton's vehicle which suffered extensive front-end damage came to rest in the south ditch, before bursting into flames. The other vehicle came to rest on the Highway.
Trooper Van Stelton, was transported by ambulance to the McCook hospital, and then flown by medical helicopter to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney with injuries to his pelvis, legs and arm. He is listed in serious condition.
The 17-year old male driver of the other vehicle was transported by ambulance to the Benkelman hospital, where he is being treated for non-life threatening injuries. A 40-year old female passenger, identified as Antonia Valdez, was transported by ambulance to the McCook hospital, and was later flown by medical helicopter to Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney, with non-life threatening leg injuries.
The 17-year driver of the vehicle did not have a driver's license. Both the driver and his passenger are believed to be from the Denver metro area.
A six-year veteran of the Nebraska State Patrol, Trooper Van Stelton is assigned to Troop D-North Platte and is stationed in McCook.
Source: Nebraska State Patrol