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‘Common event’ takes ‘uncommon turn’ on Interstate 95

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- It was an accident that shut down traffic for hours on Interstate 95 South 

According to Virginia State Police (VSP), a state trooper pulled over to the side of the road to assist a disabled vehicle. The officer quickly noticed the driver was already outside of the vehicle.

That individual, who has yet to be identified, then began to run away from the officer, police said.  Moments later a  struggle ensued in the grassy median, and then the driver began to run. That is when, shortly thereafter, the driver was struck by a vehicle on the 95 south portion of the interstate.

CBS 6 asked police if the officer should have had backup before pulling over to check on the disabled vehicle.

graphic for 95 ax

"It is a common event that took an uncommon turn," Keith Schilke, a former traffic police officer who now works for the lawyers Marks and Harrison.

Schilke said state police officers routinely pull over to the side of the road to assist vehicles without calling for backup, and added that there is no rule book telling officers when they can proceed towards someone, or when they must wait for assistance.

"Most police officers have that gut intuition that something just doesn't feel right," Schilke said.

Schilke told CBS 6 that the officer likely followed the individual into the median because backup would have taken too long to get there.

That is a sharp difference between state troopers and city officers. Schilke explained. Often times in the city, police back-up is just seconds away, where on the highways it is not.

"Depending on where a state trooper is, his closest backup could be five to 10 minutes away," Schilke said.

It has not been announced who the individual is, or why they ran.  The VSP did tell CBS 6 they responded to 178,635 stranded vehicles last year in Virginia.

8 comments

  • manlishi

    “Should state police officer have waited for backup before 95 fatal crash”. Absolutely not. Any law enforcement officer that responds at his own peril for the common good deserves recognition. Not criticism. This particular trooper exposed himself to particular risk to save some one from themself.

  • Ron Melancon

    Under the code you are not allowd to be walking in the interstates and you can be arrested. In Henrico you can be on the road with your broken down car however the interstate is different. Now back up? The officer was responding to a broken down vehicle and he wanted to help!!!! It was that person decision to run and then put our officer at risk trying to save him.
    Now we had situations in New York when people were on drugs and ran from us and we had to help detain them to get help for them. Can we support the officer. Let the facts come out and even see the toxicology reports to see why he may have run . If going forward we need to police officers to respond to a breakdown then people will sue for very slow response times.

  • Doyle Hargraves

    Wait for backup? Sometimes it is sixty miles away for a trooper. A tragedy, but the deceased caused his own death all the way. Just glad the trooper is safe. Those guys don’t get paid enough in my opinion.

    • Belsma

      I think the trooper went beyond his duty and put himself at risk. Dude ran away when LE was trying to help him. Interested to find out why he ran away though.

  • The Legend Killer

    Think about it this way Joe..If there is an active shooter situation (god forbid) in an elementary school in Richmond and your kid is one of the students and an officer gets there in 2 minutes but his backup is 14 minutes away..Do you want him waiting for backup?

  • SAM

    The Governor keeps cutting State Trooper positions – so where do you think backup would come from? The State Police has been cut so much – you are lucky to have one available per County! I am sure the idiot that ran had prior outstanding offences and didn’t want to be caught again. Just saved us tax payers from paying his jail time!

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