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Trooper’s cruiser hit by passing semi during traffic stop on I-43

July 24, 2013

State Patrol releases video of incident to remind drivers to move over

Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Jim Reese stopped a driver for speeding on I-43 in Sheboygan County on Friday morning, July 19. As Trooper Reese was walking back to his cruiser after talking to the driver of the stopped vehicle, a semi hit the side of the cruiser.

The crash was captured on the video camera in Trooper Reese’s cruiser, and a photograph shows the damage.

"Trooper Reese approached the stopped vehicle on the shoulder of the interstate on the right or passenger-side," says State Patrol Captain Nick Scorcio, commander of DOT's Northeast Region. "If he had been walking on the left or driver-side of the vehicle, there’s no doubt in my mind he would have been hit by the semi traveling at highway speed. The semi driver was issued citations for inattentive driving and failure to move over."

In light of this near tragedy, the State Patrol is reminding drivers to move over or slow down when encountering law enforcement and other emergency vehicles on the side of roadways. Wisconsin’s Move Over Law requires drivers to shift lanes if possible or slow down in order to create a safety zone for a law enforcement vehicle, ambulance, fire truck, tow truck or highway maintenance vehicle that is stopped on the side of a road with its warning lights flashing.

"To create a safety zone on interstate highways and other divided roads with multiple directional lanes, you must move over to vacate the lane closest to the law enforcement or other emergency vehicle if you can safely switch lanes," says Captain Scorcio. "If the road has a single directional lane or you can’t safely move over because of traffic, you must reduce your speed until safely past the vehicle."

Failure of motorists to create a safety zone by moving over or slowing down is one of the major reasons that motor vehicle crashes kill more law enforcement officers on duty than any other cause, according to Captain Scorcio.

Captain Scorcio emphasizes, "By obeying the Move Over Law, drivers can protect themselves, their passengers, motorists who are stopped on the roadway shoulder, our officers and others who work on highways from needless injuries and deaths."
 
The video and a digital photo of Trooper Reese’s close call can be seen on YouTube.

For more information, contact:
State Patrol Captain Nick Scorcio, commander of the Northeast Region
(920) 929-3700, nick.scorcio@dot.wi.gov

 

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