MADISON COUNTY -

A N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper was hit by a car during a traffic stop in Madison County Tuesday evening.

Trooper Matt Mitchell, 27, remained in critical condition as of Wednesday, according to the highway patrol.  The incident happened shortly before five p.m. on Highway 19 near Crooked Creek Road - that's just northeast of Mars Hill in Madison County.

Mitchell is assigned to the highway patrol's Burnsville District, according to Trooper Gene Williamson.  Williamson says no charges have yet been filed against the driver whose vehicle struck Mitchell. 

While the cause of the accident is currently under investigation, troopers say it's important to remember North Carolina's Move Over Law.  The law requires drivers to move into a nearby lane or reduce speed when passing an emergency or utility vehicle that is operating its flashing lights.

"Sometimes people will stop right near the roadway," said trooper Jason Morton.  "You try to offset your car slightly to give you a little bit more room when you're speaking to that driver."

Morton says following the Move Over Law ensures the safety of not just troopers, but also the people stopped on the side of the road.

"For the amount of traffic we have in Jacksonville, it's something that could happen all the time," says Morton.

According to the highway patrol, Mitchell is married and has been a trooper for over three years.