CHESTERFIELD COUTNY, Va. — A picture of a traffic cone posted to the Chesterfield County Fire and EMS Facebook page Tuesday came with a warning: #moveover.
“The crew of Engine 5 had a close call tonight as they were working a vehicle crash on Midlothian Turnpike. The engine was positioned with its cones out when a passerby struck one of their cones dragging it for about a mile down the road. The driver narrowly missed the apparatus and accident scene. DRIVERS please pay attention, #slowdown and #moveover! #itsthelaw,” the post read.
Chesterfield firefighter Doug Bishop was called to the t-bone crash at Midlothian Turnpike and Old Buckingham Road along with Engine 5.
“Out of nowhere we hear a thump and it’s a sickening sound. It sounds like a body,” Bishop recalled. “I turned around and this guy in a pick-up truck just ran right into the cone and never slowed up.”
Bishop feared the driver hit a first responder or the individuals involved in the initial crash.
“Thank God when we turned around it was just a cone, but it could’ve been a lot worse” he explained. “I don’t understand how that still happens.”
The state’s move over law applies to vehicles displaying red, blue, or amber-colored lights including VDOT vehicles and tow trucks.
It mandates that vehicles move over a lane if they are passing a vehicle with it’s emergency lights on or if they can’t, they must slow down to a safe speed.
On July 1, the penalty for failing to move over one lane on highways with at least four lanes for emergency responders increased from a traffic infraction to a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The legislation was created following the death of Hanover Fire Lt. Brad Clark who was killed while working an accident scene on Interstate 295.
Bishop hoped drivers learn from this latest close call.
“As the engine officer that day I don’t want anything happening to those guys and I don’t want them in harm’s way,” he said.