CANFIELD, Ohio (WYTV) – In the past five years, there have been five instances of troopers getting hit along the side of the road. Locally, there were two cases in Mahoning County and one in Trumbull County.
In January 2014, Trooper Brian Cowles was hit by a car along Interstate 680 in Austintown while helping a motorist stuck in the snow. In July 2016, a trooper’s cruiser was hit as he was standing next to it on Interstate 76 in Jackson Township and then two months later; another trooper was hit during a traffic stop in Howland.
The accidents happened despite a law that’s been on the books since 2009 requiring motorists to slow down and pull over when they come upon an emergency vehicle. Even tow trucks working on the side of the road are included in the Move Over law.
Lieutenant Jerad Sutton said it all comes down to distracted driving.
“They are driving down the roadway paying attention to something other than what they should be, trying to multi-task when they are in the vehicle,” Sutton said.
Since 2012, nearly 1,000 people in the immediate area were cited under the Move Over law. Even with the law in place and troopers enforcing it, accidents are still happening far too often. Just last week, dash camera video shows a Boardman Towing crew nearly hit by a semi as they were working on Interstate 680.
“I don’t know if it is just an awareness issue that people don’t realize that they should do that. It seems like it should be common sense, but yes, it scares us,” said Chris Flynn, with Boardman Towing.
Flynn said drivers need to pay attention before someone else gets killed.