KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Law enforcement officers are still shaken after four of their own were hit by a drunk driver while standing on the shoulder of the interstate, responding to another crash.
It happened along I-75 in Knox County early Saturday morning.
The driver crashed into a sheriff’s office cruiser, then hit a Tennessee Highway Patrol car. None of the officers had life-threatening injuries.
“We’ve worked along side each other, so that really kind of hits home. Also the deputies in Knox County, we work very closely with the deputies,” said Lt. Stacey Heatherly.
The accused drunk driver was 47-year-old Earl Lipscomb. He is facing a number of charges including a violation of the “Move Over” law.
The law was passed in 2006 and requires you put at least one lane between you and emergency vehicles on the side of the road.
“When you’re out there and the traffic is whizzing by at, let’s just say the speed limit, at 55 it’s crazy how it feels,” said Lt. Heatherly.
Troopers say if you are on a two lane road or you are blocked by other traffic and absolutely cannot move over, you still have to slow down, or you can still be cited.
“Don’t stop,” said Heatherly. “Do not bow up and stop because when you do that, you create a hazard of the traffic not flowing freely, so please just slow down.”
Troopers said Saturday’s unfortunate accident is now a reminder for all drivers to prevent this from happening.
“It’s very uncomfortable because it’s just you. It’s just your body. You can’t manage that kind of impact,” said Heatherly.
The “Move Over” law does not only apply to police. Troopers say it also goes for road work crews, wreckers and utility crews.
If you violate the law, it is a Class B misdemeanor. You could face a fine up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail.