Retired State trooper stresses slowing down and moving over
An Interstate 55 motorist was issued a Scott’s Law violation ticket after an Illinois Department of Transportation motorist assist truck was struck in a chain-reaction accident Saturday in East St. Louis, the Illinois State Police said.
No one was injured in the IDOT truck crash or in the initial crash that had prompted the motorist assist truck driver to stop to see if anyone needed help.
Scott’s Law violators have come under scrutiny after three Illinois State Police troopers have been killed by drivers this year and 13 others have been injured, including a trooper struck on I-55 near Collinsville. The law, which is named after a Chicago Fire Lt. Scott Gillen who was at a crash scene when he was killed by a drunken driver in 2000, requires drivers to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles.
Trooper Josh Korando, spokesman for the Illinois State Police in the metro-east, said the incident on Saturday all started when a driver had stopped at the 1.8 mile marker on I-55 northbound to reload a lawnmower that fallen off a truck.
A minor crash occurred at 12:22 p.m. and then the IDOT driver stopped.
After the IDOT driver had arrived, a vehicle behind him started to slow down and pull over but was struck by another vehicle that could not pull over in time. That collision caused the first motorist to hit the IDOT truck, Korando said.
Earlier this month, the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association said sheriff’s departments across Illinois would participate in a traffic awareness campaign about Scott’s Law for the week that ended on Friday – the day before the crash in East St. Louis.
And last month, acting Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly, the former state’s attorney for St. Clair County, said the agency will crack down on Scott’s Law violators.
Korando said one way troopers do this is when a trooper makes a traffic stop, another trooper in the area will provide back up to be on the lookout for Scott’s Law violations.
Along with the three troopers who have been fatally struck, 13 others have been struck and injured this year alone.
“It’s unbelievable,” Korando said the number of times troopers have been struck. He noted that these numbers are only from one agency, the Illinois State Police.
Don Buckley, a retired state trooper and the uncle of the 30-year-old trooper who was struck by a tractor-trailer March 21 on I-55 near Collinsville while he was working a traffic accident, said last month his nephew faces a long recovery from the serious injuries he sustained.
Buckley, a 26-year state police veteran, said that his “heart stopped” when he got the call about his nephew. He spoke during a news conference about the dangers of Scott’s Law violations.
Buckley said a friend of his from the academy was killed early in his career as a result of a crash and later in his career, two troopers under his command were killed in separate Scott’s Law violation incidents.