EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSDeputy Hurt After Driver Fails To Merge For Emergency Vehicle
from Eyewitness News Online
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Troy Morgan
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Jul. 22, 2013 6:58 PM EDT
Updated: Jul. 22, 2013 8:49 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A Kanawha County sheriff's deputy suffered a head injury during a traffic stop but she says it easily could have been prevented.
For Deputy Stephanie Adams, there is no such thing as a routine traffic stop, but for her it was what happened as she was finishing the stop that landed her in the hospital with a concussion.
"I just think, I just think they don't know," she says of the "Move Over Law" in West Virginia. It requires drivers to move over for emergency vehicles.
Last week, as she was going back to her cruiser after a traffic stop on Route 60 in Saint Albans, a truck hauling a pontoon boat was coming toward her in the right hand lane.
"There were no blinkers, no intentions of merging to the left at all," she says.
As the truck when by, something flew out of the boat or the truck, and hit her in the head.
"I was unable to see for a few seconds and my vision was blurry, I was very dazed and confused. It took my several minutes to actaully regain my barrings to where I was at and what I was doing," she said.
Eyewitness News wanted to know just how often the law is broke. We mounted a camera on a cruiser, parked it on the interstate with it's lights flashing, and what we found was eye opening.
Car, after car, after car was breaking the law. Few bothered to merge, and not a single one slowed down.
If changing lanes is impossible or unsafe, the law says you need to slow down to 15 miles per hour if you're on a non-divided highway or 25 miles per hour if you're on a divided highway like the interstate.
"It's an officer safety matter. It's a courtesy to us to try to keep us safe while we try to keep them safe," says Adams.
Failing to merge for an emergency vehicle can land you a $500 fine. If someone is hurt because of it, fines can go anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 and carry a six month jail sentence.
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