MACEDONIA, Ohio– Authorities are reminding drivers to move over or slow down for stopped vehicles with flashing lights after a Macedonia police officer was injured when his cruiser was hit on Interstate 271 Monday.
The officer, who has not been identified, was responding to a traffic stop on I-271 northbound around 5 p.m. when a driver crashed into the rear, left corner panel of the officer’s cruiser, according to an incident report. Macedonia police said the veteran officer was taken to Hillcrest Hospital for evaluation and had “non-life-threatening injuries.”
A Summit County Sheriff’s Office deputy arrested James Marshall, 56, of Cuyahoga Falls, for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The incident report stated Marshall smelled of alcohol, had an open container of vodka in his car and registered a blood alcohol content of .309, or nearly four times the legal limit.
Marshall was also charged under Ohio’s Move Over law, which requires drivers to move over or slow down for stopped police officers and other official vehicles with flashing lights.
“It is definitely an issue,” said Ohio State Highway Patrol Sgt. Scott Powers. “We are having officers getting struck and not only officers, but folks in service vehicles on the side of the road and tow trucks. Anything with flashing lights, the law requires you to move over.”
FOX 8 News tagged along with Trooper Brian Bracy on Wednesday to see how often drivers break the Move Over law. More than 50 drivers failed to move over during just one traffic stop on Interstate 480 near Ridge Road. During each traffic stop Bracy completed, dozens of drivers blew right by his stopped cruiser, including many who were speeding.
“On most every traffic stop, officers will encounter a vehicle that does not move over when they have the ability to do so or slow down,” Powers said.
The Macedonia Police Department recently took part in a field test of a camera system that records move over violations, which could soon be used by departments to issue warnings and tickets.
Violation of the law constitutes a misdemeanor with doubled fines.
“We want our officers, our tow truck drivers or anyone that’s working on the side of the highway to be able to go home to their families,” Powers said.