BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — After a deputy had a close call on Saturday, the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office is reminding motorists of the importance of the “Move Over” law, as well as the potential consequences for breaking it.
Deputy Brian Ellis was responding to a crash on Saturday, May 16 along Route 460 when another driver crashed into his vehicle, which was pulled over in the medium with its emergency lights flashing.
“First off, just happy to not have been in the car at that time. The Lord was definitely looking out for me,” said Deputy Ellis.
Now, the deputy hopes that sharing his story will help remind people to move over when they see flashing lights.
“You don’t have to travel fast to cause a lot of damage. You don’t have to do that. But moving over for emergency vehicles is paramount. We don’t really get to pick where we have to do our jobs,” Deputy Ellis said.
Sheriff Mike Miller says he’s happy nobody was injured, but the incident could have been worse.
“Our deputies work in dangerous situations all the time, but drivers really increase that risk for them when they zoom by or ignore the flashing lights.”
According to the sheriff, seven law enforcement officers lost their lives in 2019 from people not moving over.
“We know that this wasn’t an intentional act, or that she meant to hit his car, we know that. But we know also that there’s a reason laws are on the books. And that when you see these things, you slow down and move over.”
Sheriff Miller says the driver who crashed into the deputy’s car was given a summons for reckless driving.
However, the Move Over law isn’t just for law enforcement. Drivers are asked to move over for all emergency vehicles with flashing lights — including tow truck drivers — that are often in dangerous situations on the side of the road helping disabled vehicles, no matter what color their lights are.
“When you see the lights it is someone out there working on the side of the road even if it’s a breakdown, accident or whatever. It’s going to be someone there so people do need to move over,” said Thomas Towing and Recovery owner Jeff Orange.
If you don’t move over or slow down when approaching flashing lights, it’s a traffic infraction the first time, but a Class One misdemeanor the second time. In addition, if you hit one of the vehicles, you could have your driver’s license suspended.
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