With 14 troopers hit, Pritzker urges highway caution - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

With 14 troopers hit, Pritzker urges highway caution

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UPDATE: Mon. March, 25, 2019 5:45 p.m. -- Governor JB Pritzker and Acting Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly today addressed the unusual amount of accidents involving Illinois State Troopers. 

Just last week a deputy and his squad car were hit by a semi-truck in the Metro East area. That trooper was on the scene of a multi-vehicle crash in St. Clair County. He parked his car ahead of the accident as a warning for drivers to slow down.

The trooper was airlifted to a St. Louis hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

"When you see a state trooper's vehicle on the side of the road, slow down, obey the law and move over," said Pritzker with sternness.

In January an Illinois State Trooper was killed in northern Illinois while on the scene of accident during severe weather. 

Deputy Christopher Lambert was helping victims of an accident in a snowstorm when a driver hit him and drove away. That driver has since been charged.

Lambert, 34, had been with Illinois State Police since 2013 and worked in the criminal patrol division. He leaves behind a wife and four-year-old daughter.

Scott Law's originally required drivers merge to the opposite lane while first-responders are on the shoulder. The law was expanded in 2017 to include any driver on the side of the road with hazard lights flashing.

"While handling incidents, troopers are trained to intentionally place their squad in a manner that protects the vehicle they are stopping to assist or conducting an enforcement stop. That is done in order to keep the public safe," said Director Kelly.

The Governor said the call he made to Trooper Lambert's family is one he never wants to make again.

"Our state troopers are putting their lives on the line every single day. They are our heroes and our first-responders keeping people safe," said Pritzker. "No driver needs to get to their destination so quickly that they need to put a trooper's life at risk," said the governor.

Kelly said he is implementing 2,000 additional man-hours to enforcement of Scott's Law.

ORIGINAL STORY:
SPRINGFRIELD, Ill. (AP) - Fourteen Illinois State Police officers have been struck in roadside crashes this year. That's an average of more than one a week and nearly double the total for all of last year.
  
Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois State Police on Monday urged motorists to observe the "Mover Over Law " when approaching vehicles on the side of the road.
  
The law requires motorists approaching vehicles along the roadside to slow down and change lanes to provide more space. It's also known as Scott's Law in memory of Chicago Fire Lt. Scott Gillen. Gillen was assisting at a crash scene in 2000 when he was struck and killed.
  
The 14 incidents involving state troopers include the January death of 34-year-old Christopher Lambert.
  
Eight troopers were struck in all of 2018.

(Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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