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Motorists: #039;Move Over and Slow Down#039;

On March 29, Sgt. Christopher Wood of the Ohio State Highway Patrol got out of his cruiser on I-71 in Richland County to speak to a colleague when his patrol car video captured the horror -- a vehicle struck both cruisers.

On June 12, Trooper William Davis was on foot conducting a traffic stop on

State Route 2 in Lake County when a passing vehicle struck both the cruiser

and the car he had pulled over.

In both of these crashes the troopers narrowly escaped serious injury, but the footage will be used by the patrol

to urge motorists to "Move Over and Slow Down," some new public service announcements

of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

In anticipation of increased Thanksgiving traffic, the patrol has released two television PSAs to remind motorists to comply with Ohio's law to change lanes and slow down when passing an emergency vehicle with lights activated.

The law went into effect in September 1999 and is described in section 4511.213 of the Ohio Revised Code.

This law was enacted after Officer John Kalaman of the Centerville Police Department and firefighter Robert J. O'Toole, of the Washington Township Fire Department were struck and killed by a motorist on Interstate 675 on January 12, 1998, while performing emergency assistance.

More recently, Trooper Robert Perez of the Milan Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol was struck and killed in May 2000 while performing duties related to a traffic stop.

The 15- and 30-second PSAs are also available to view on the patrol's Web site (www.state.oh.us/ohiostatepatrol).

Motorists should always show emergency personnel courtesy. The very nature of their work is dangerous enough -- public safety employees are working in dangerous situations while other motorists continue to use the roadway.