North Carolina Trooper Injured While Responding to Drunk Driving Pursuit

Holiday weekends typically mean an abundance of state troopers and local police officers patrolling North Carolina roadways to reduce the risk of drunk driving or car accidents in Hickory or elsewhere. The number of law enforcement security checkpoints and patrol officers increase during holiday periods when roadways are used more frequently.
WTVD reports about a recent holiday weekend accident that sent three people to the hospital, including a police officer. The accident happened while a state trooper was in pursuit to offer assistance to another officer involved with a suspected drunk driver.

Investigators report the unmarked cruiser was traveling at a speed of 70 mph on Interstate 85 with lights flashing and the siren on when the trooper exited the highway at North Duke Street. To avoid traffic waiting for the light to turn green at the end of the off ramp, the trooper pulled along the shoulder, lost control of the cruiser and crashed into a traffic light control box. The impact of the crash caused the cruiser to go sailing across six lanes of traffic before hitting another vehicle. One of the passengers from that vehicle suffered a broken hip and pelvis while the other had less serious injuries but was sent to the hospital for medical attention. The state trooper was treated and released from the hospital.

Officials from the North Carolina Highway Patrol stated that police officers try to avoid a crash while in pursuit, but when in emergency response mode they sometimes drive above the posted speed limit. This was an unfortunate accident according to state officials because the trooper couldn’t balance the danger of speeding in pursuit to the potential harm of hurting a motorist.

Winston-Salem car accident attorneys want to remind North Carolina motorists of the Move Over law set forth by state legislatures in January 2002. In order to prevent contact with policemen, firefighters, emergency responders, utility workers and other rescuers responding to an emergency situation, state officials passed this law that requires motorists to move one lane over if it is safe to do so whenever they see flashing lights or hear a siren. Failure to move over could result in a minimum penalty of $250.

According to Move Over, America, 164 police officers have died nationwide after being struck by a passing vehicle. In 2009, there were 10 law enforcement official deaths nationwide, that’s almost half of the number killed in 2008 reported at 18. According to a recent national poll sponsored by the National Safety Commission, 71 percent of Americans don’t know that a Move Over law even exists. To date, 43 states have passed a Move Over law in order to help protect emergency responders from being struck while trying to do their job.

Motorists who spot flashing lights should always slow down and move over to help reduce the risk of making contact with an emergency responder.

Lee Law Offices P.A. represents car accident victims in North Carolina and South Carolina. If you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed, in a car accident, call 1-800-887-1965 for a free initial consultation to discuss your rights with an experienced car accident attorney at our firm.

Additional Resources:
Crash report shows trooper went airborne, by WTVD Staff, WTVD ABC News.

More Blog Entries:
Thanksgiving Weekend Travel Puts Motorists at Risk of Car Accidents in Greensboro, Statewide, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, November 24, 2011.

Reckless Driving Accidents in Charlotte, Elsewhere Often Caused by Speeding Motorists, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, November 16, 2011.

Greensboro Drunk-Driving Accidents Prevalent During Holiday Weekends, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, November 11, 2011.

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