Early Thursday morning, D.R. White parked his cruiser on the shoulder of Interstate 7 north, at the 15.5 mile marker near Athens to remove debris near the middle of the roadway. Lt. Michael Baylous, a public information officer of the WV State Police, said that White’s lights were active to alert passing motorists to move to the left. After collecting the debris, on his way back to the cruiser, White was hit. Baylous spoke on the matter, and believes White was hit by the passenger side mirror of the vehicle.
According to Baylous, White received injuries that forced him to crawl in pain back to his cruiser. White gathered the strength to issue a radio call for medical assistance, and was shortly transported to the nearest hospital. He was treated and released that same morning, but was said to have been experiencing “considerable overall pain.”
An investigation is still underway by the West Virginia State Police. Anyone with information concerning the accident is asked to contact the West Virginia State Police.
The accident occurred because of a direct violation of the Move Over law. The Virginia Move Over law requires that “upon approaching a stationary vehicle that is flashing, blinking or alternating blue, red or amber light or lights,” which was the case with White’s cruiser, the driver must either change lanes or reduce their speed to reduce the probability that an accident will occur.
Traffic fatalities are up 32% from the year before, according to data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. This incident is particularly disconcerting, because it appears as if White could have suffered far more serious injuries, or even death, had the driver hit him only seconds earlier. Worse yet, there is no reason to believe that the driver would have responded differently had White been more seriously injured. To commit a hit and run is not only despicable in itself, but it also further imperils the victim’s life if first responders are not alerted of their injuries right away. Minutes could mean the difference between life and death.
We are grateful that White survived with what we hope are only short-term injuries.