State Patroller toppled by wind gust on video laughs off new internet fame

Thursday, Sgt. Ron Richards was caught on video being blown across an icy southwestern Minnesota highway thanks to a heavy wind gust.  

The video, which shows Richards’ hard fall to the ice after a brief fight with the wind gust, captured about 10 seconds of his 24-year career. That 10 seconds, however, has been seen nearly 500,000 times on the FOX 9 Facebook page alone.  

“My son that’s deployed with the military in Eastern Europe right now even called me and said, ‘You made it on TV over here today.’ So, I was pretty shocked on that,” said Richards in an interview with FOX 9 Friday.

Richards said a key part of being a State Patroller is having a sense of humor. He even laughed at a video published by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office that played the song, “Ice Ice Baby” behind the video of him falling.

“A lot of times, in our position, we have to be able to laugh at ourselves,” he said. “You don’t want to be known as the trooper who fell on his butt on national TV, but by showing the conditions and what we put up with and we can still get up and do our job and laugh it off and shake it off, I think that gives people a good understanding of what we put up with, with the weather and what we go through to try and protect the people on our roadways.”

Richards added that the conditions he saw Thursday were not uncommon in southwestern Minnesota, which is known for its windy conditions.

“We basically get [those conditions] about once a year, if not a couple times a year down there,” he said.

He did say that the combination of wind and ice made it especially treacherous conditions.

“With the ice, with the wind, you could barely stand up, open car doors, it was pretty tough to do the job,” Richards said.

In true law enforcement fashion, Richards hopes the people he serves can learn from his viral moment.

“I’m just hoping people realize that not only troopers, but tow truck drivers and DOT drivers are out there,” he said. “Please, drive with safety, drive with care and think of them as you would your family in that situation and drive accordingly.”