According to police, the cruiser was on the northbound side of the highway under the Brightman Street Bridge, in a well-marked construction set-up, providing protection, with its emergency lights activated.
The crash occurred just after 11 a.m. when the driver of a 1993 Buick Regal, identified only as a 23-year-old Dighton man, lost control of his vehicle, struck a Toyota Prius, then hit a barrel and sign in the construction zone before rear-ending the cruiser, a 2010 Ford Crown Victoria.
The trooper working the detail was behind the wheel of the cruiser with his seat belt on. State police identified him only as a 39-year-old trooper assigned to the Dartmouth barracks.
The force of the impact caused the trooper to suffer minor injuries, police said. He was released from Rhode Island Hospital in Providence and is expected to be on injured leave for a few days.
Evidence from witnesses and statements from the driver of the Buick indicate the operator likely suffered a medical incident just before the crash. He was treated at Charlton Memorial Hospital.
The crash is being investigated by Troop D of the state police with the assistance of the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section.