Crashes into stopped squad cars on Illinois roadways, that have killed two state troopers and hospitalized at least one other since January, have state lawmakers urging drivers to "do the decent thing" and follow the law.
The latest case -- death of Trooper Brooke Jones-Story, 34, on Thursday -- resulted from the 15th crash this year involving a state law enforcement vehicle.
State officials have been campaigning to get drivers to slow down and change lanes for stationary emergency vehicles that have their warning lights turned on, an act called Scott’s Law, since a trooper was struck and killed in January while responding to a three-car crash.
Killed in that crash was 34-year-old Trooper Christopher Lambert, who was standing near the crash site when he was struck by a Jeep that had failed to slow down. He was pronounced dead at a hospital. He left behind a 1-year-old child.
Jones-Story on Thursday left her vehicle, with the emergency lights turned on, to conduct a truck inspection on the side of the highway. A “truck tractor semi-trailer combination” then veered off the roadway struck the squad car, followed by the truck, and fatally struck the trooper, Illinois State Police (ISP) Acting Director Brendan F. Kelly said.
The 12-year veteran leaves behind her husband, two stepchildren and a stepgrandchild, as well as other family members, according to officials.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker offered prayers to the family following the “devastating” loss, urging drivers that the “only decent thing to do” is to change lanes or slow down.
“Our state troopers do incredible work keeping the public safe, and it is devastating to the entire state that another has been killed on the side of a highway,” he wrote on Twitter.
“I cannot stress strongly enough – when you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, change lanes or slow down” he continued. “It’s the law, and it’s the only decent thing to do.”
Scott’s Law, also known as the “Move Over” Law, requires drivers to slow down and change lanes upon approaching “stationary authorized emergency” vehicles with their warning lights on, the Illinois State Police explained on their website.
The police issued a tweet Thursday, following Jones-Story’s death, with a photo of the highway’s overhead signs reading: “Enough Is Enough,” along with a notice on Scott’s Law.
One week before the death of Jones-Story, the state’s 14th accident nearly killed another trooper. The unidentified trooper was responding to a vehicle that hit a light pole when a passing truck struck him outside of his marked squad car, with lights activated, KFVS-TV of Cape Girardeau, Mo., reported. He was rushed to a hospital and was in serious but stable condition.
In the wake of the crashes, lawmakers have urged tougher penalties for drivers who break Scott’s Law, the Chicago Tribune reported. A new bill, if passed, could slap drivers with a misdemeanor charge for crashes that lead to injury or death. Violators currently face up to a $10,000 fine and lose their license.
Fox News' Elizabeth Zwirz contributed to this report.