'Seat belts do work': Trooper returns to duty 13 months after head-on crash

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A Minnesota State Patrol trooper is back on the job after surviving a deadly car crash last year.

Last May, Sgt. Mike Krukowski was in his squad vehicle when a car veered off I-35 in Lakeville, broke through a freeway fence and struck his SUV head-on.

Sgt. Krukowski suffered serious injuries. The other driver did not survive. 

Tuesday, Sgt. Krukowski shared his excitement to be back to full duty. While standing in front of his wrecked vehicle, the state trooper said he’s thankful to be alive. He credited his seat belt for saving his life.

“I know we hear a lot about that from State Patrol, about putting your seat belt on, but this evidence right here that the seat belts do work,” said Sgt. Krukowski. “And it allowed me to stay alive. I’m still around for my family, my kids, my wife. Had I not made that choice, I think - totally different circumstances."

Sgt. Krukowski's message about seat belts an important reminder ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, which is one of the busiest times to be on the road. According to State Patrol, nearly 90 motorists lost their lives on Minnesota roads last year because they didn’t buckle up.