DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — A deputy is hurt and several law enforcement vehicles are totaled after traffic officials say they have seen a spike in drivers running into patrol cars.
“Why is this happening?” asked Lt. Bill Miller with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. “That is the question.”
In the last month, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has had three cars hit while troopers respond to scenes. The Dickson County Sheriff’s Office has also had three cars hit while responding to scenes.
“Looks like it destroyed the rear axle,” said Sheriff Tim Eads with Dickson County. “It was enough of an impact at full speed that it deployed the front airbags, the side airbags… and the deputy received some minor injuries. No broken bones but bruised up pretty good.”
Deputy Nolan Mamori suffered minor injuries, but officials say the crash could have cost him his life.
“It’s very serious,” said Lt. Miller. “I’m not just a Trooper. I’m a father. I’m a husband. I have friends and I have family that I love and that love me and who depend on me to come home. So, put yourself in my shoes. Put yourself in the shoes of the person broke down on the road.”
While traffic officials are still investigating the crash, they say the state’s “Move Over Law” could have very well prevented it.
“That law is very clear. You are to slow down, yield and move over to the next clearest lane to avoid patrol cars. Any type of emergency vehicle, any type of service vehicle on the highway, even now that the law has been modified to include personal passenger vehicles on the side of the roadway. So, really — it’s the most common sense law in the books,” said Miller.
Both departments are now faced with damages and repairs.
“What’s scary now, it’s not just the Sheriff’s Office but all agencies facing: it’s taking months and months for new vehicles to come in. Even if insurance covers it and buys you a new one, you could be waiting a year or more for a replacement vehicle,” Sheriff Eads explained.
A 70-year old driver has been charged with a due care violation in Wednesday’s crash.