Kansas Highway Patrol motorist assist program helps Thanksgiving travelers

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For hours on end, Samm McClure spends her days driving up and down the highways and interstates of Sedgwick County. Her mission is to help drivers stranded on the road. She has been a KHP Motorist Assist Technician for more than four years.

Before she heads out for a full day of driving, McClure makes sure that her truck is stocked. "That's my jacks, cables. and make sure I have gas in case somebody needs gas." 

On average she helps assist about seven drivers each day. From flat tires to cars overheating and even drivers running out of gas -- she sees it all.

"I've had people just literally stressed out, crying when we come up on them...we're able to help them, and it's such a relief for them," she said.

On Thanksgiving Eve, McClure stumbled upon Shila Roles, who ran out of gas.

Roles said, "I've driven with it low before, and thought I would be fine. It wasn't fine. We slowed down and the car stalled."

She, like many, didn’t know that the Kansas Highway Patrol has technicians monitoring all the major highways and interstates in Sedgwick County.

"I wish I would have known about it. It's very helpful and I'm glad that we have these resources to help people out."

The Patrol started the motorist assist program more than 20 years ago when troopers noticed the need to help stranded drivers. Since then, crews have helped thousands of people get back on the road.

If you need help, just call *47 and a dispatcher will call someone out for you right away.

“Give us your location and description of your vehicle," McClure said. "Or if you see someone pulled over on the side of the road and they need help."

You'll see motorist assist vehicles all over these highways this holiday season. While many people may not enjoy spending eight hours on the road, McClure does.

“It's the best job. It's an enjoyable job just to help people and see them get on their way safely."

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