COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – Police say most people still don’t know to move over for an emergency vehicle. It’s the law, whether you’re in Missouri or Illinois.
On Wednesday night, a semi-truck failed to follow that law and hit an Illinois State trooper who was outside of his car.
Trooper Josh Korando said, “Enough is enough.” He said his colleague was the 14th trooper hit by someone breaking the ‘move over’ law this year.
“We can’t have that anymore,” Trooper Korando said. “Our troopers are just out there doing their jobs.”
Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, who’s prosecuted offenders, said, “My wife is a police officer, a police sergeant. It’s frustrating to see officers and troopers continuously injured because of people’s failure to follow the law, failure to move over or slow down.”
Gibbons says distracted drivers are increasing the dangers. He’s prosecuting Mohamed Jama for reckless homicides in a November 2017 crash. It was in a construction zone on I-55. Four people died. Jama ran.
“That’s a person we want to get and bring him to justice,” Gibbons said. “Potentially up to 50 years in this particular case and having to live with the fact of having to live with all of that death and destruction that you caused.”
The trooper struck Wednesday night had no choice but to be on a road where he knew people would be distracted. He was there because of an earlier crash.
“This wasn’t a traffic stop. He didn’t put himself in this situation. He was there to help someone else,” Korando said.
Illinois’ move over law is called Scott’s Law.
“It’s named after a firefighter in the Chicago area that actually lost his life when he was directing traffic and someone came by and hit him,” Korando said.
A safety group called Move Over America documents 150 officers killed by passing cars since 1999. The group found that despite that, 71 percent of drivers still don’t know it’s the law to move over.
You could pay up to a $1,000 fine if caught failing to move over; a small price to pay when you compare that to someone’s life.