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‘All of us want to get home at night’: Urging drivers to be aware of Virginia’s Move Over law

For State Police Sergeant Steve Sclafani, putting on the uniform each day is an honor.

“My dad was a police officer and I come from a family that’s in law enforcement, and I think it’s important to give back to others,” Sclafani told NBC 12.

But along with the badge comes risks.

“I was unconscious. It was an out-of-body experience. I thought I was dead,” Sclafani said.

Sclafani was conducting a traffic stop back in 2009 when a driver who fell asleep a the wheel struck his patrol car at 70 miles per hour.

“I was in the hospital for a day. I still feel it every morning when I wake up. It was a traumatic experience, and it’s something I’ll never forget,” he said.

Virginia law requires drivers to change lanes and slow down when they see emergency lights flashing.

But first responders and other state agencies said too many drivers either don’t know about it, or they just don’t care.

“They might not be looking over their shoulder at the oncoming dangers they may face,” Melanie Clark said.

Clark understands the tragic result all too well. She lost her husband, Hanover Firefighter Brad Clark, in 2018 when a tractor-trailer crashed into his fire truck during Tropical Storm Michael.

His death prompted lawmakers to toughen penalties for those who violate the Move Over law.

Clark said she’s reminded of his death every time a first responder is hit.

“Honestly, it makes my stomach turn. It’s immediate, reliving what I’ve gone through, especially if there’s a fatality involved. It’s just horrible and you just relive that moment when you’re life was turned upside down,” she said.

So next time you’re behind the wheel, be aware of your surroundings.

Christopher Rusk, VDOT Incident Management Coordinator reminded us that officers and crews aren’t just people that work in the field.

“Most of us have families and children. They know what we do. They know how dangerous it is. Regardless of whether the light color is yellow, blue, or red, all of us want to get home at night,” Rusk said.

Source: WSLS News 10

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