The Wisconsin State Patrol is reminding drivers to move over or slow down when approaching law enforcement and emergency vehicles after an incident involving a semi.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation said Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Charles Hotvedt was responding to a routine traffic stop on I-94 eastbound in Eau Claire County on October 15 when a semi came too close to a car that was pulled over for a routine traffic stop.
"Trooper Hotvedt approached the stopped vehicle on the shoulder of the interstate on the right or passenger-side," said State Patrol Captain Jeffrey Frenette, commander of the Northwest Region. "If he had been standing 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."
Captain Frenette says the driver eventually was stopped and issued multiple citations. Frenette says the driver was fatigued, which was a factor in the incident.
Wisconsin’s Move Over Law 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.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation says last year 10 State Patrol vehicles were hit while stopped on the side of roadways. The crashes injured eight officers and caused nearly $50,000 in damages to State Patrol vehicles.
So far this year, six vehicles have been hit, causing about $22,000 in damages. No one has been injured in those crashes.
"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," Captain Frenette said.