INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — An Indiana state trooper is home from the hospital after his car was struck on the side of I-70 near Emerson Avenue Wednesday morning.
“It’s no secret that this a hazardous job,” said Sgt. John Perrine with the Indiana State Police. “One of the most hazardous things that we do is sit alongside the highway, inside or outside our vehicle.”
That’s exactly what trooper Andrew Atwell was doing this morning along I-70. He pulled over to help another trooper with a flat tire, when the car he was in was hit.
“They think that the driver’s windshield maybe got covered with slush by another passing vehicle, obviously limiting visibility,” Perrine said.
It’s the 4th time trooper Atwell has been hit in the 15 months he’s been with the department. It’s a reminder that drivers need to slow down, and move over.
“It’s not just dangerous for us, it’s dangerous for anyone sitting on the side of the highway,” Perrine said.
By law drivers must move over a lane, or slow down to 10 mph below the speed limit for any emergency vehicle. That includes tow trucks, construction workers, or roadside assistance workers.
“I feel like I almost get run over everyday,” said Sam Gillespie, owner of Sam’s Roadside Service.
Gillespie has been changing tires along Indy’s highways for 7 years. Luckily, it’s been seven years of close calls and no injuries. However, if drivers don’t pay attention, he worries that could change.
“It’s easy, just move over and slow down. I know it’s hard to move over when you’re in traffic, but you could at least just slow down,” Gillespie said. “Really, I just want a driver to acknowledge that they see me. I want to feel more comfortable when cars are approaching at 60 miles an hour. If they could just tap their brakes, edge over just a little bit, that helps us put our mind at ease when we’re on the side of the road.”
While the law applies to emergency vehicles, Perrine says everyone has the right to feel safe on the side of the road.
“Any vehicle stranded on the side of the road, regardless of what type it is, deserves the courtesy of having someone slow down or move over for them,” Perrine said.