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State patrolmen say ‘move over’

SOUTH POINT – Most police officers would agree that a "routine" traffic stop is far from being routine.

Wednesday, May 09, 2001

SOUTH POINT – Most police officers would agree that a "routine" traffic stop is far from being routine. Officers not only has to consider the risk associated with the person or people pulled over in the vehicle, but the traffic that goes by them while standing on the edge of the road.

In order to decrease the chance of an officer being injured from oncoming traffic, Ohio legislators passed a law in September 1999 requiring motorist on multi-lane roads to change lanes if they can or slow down and proceed with caution when approaching a stopped public safety vehicle with the lights activated.

Lt. Carl Roark, commander of the Ironton patrol post said, "Motorist can help protect our officers by slowing down and proceeding with caution when lights are activated."

To help remind motorist of the law, the highway patrol and the Ohio Department of Transportation has placed signs on major highways that describes the state law.

According to press release from the highway patrol, the law stems from the death of police officer John Kalaman of Centerville Police Department and firefighter Robert J. O’Toole of Washington Township Fire Department who were struck and killed by a motorist on Interstate 675, Jan. 12, 1998.

Recently, Trooper Robert Perez of the Milan Patrol Post was struck and killed in May 2000.