Henrico Police voice concerns with recent crashes: ‘Move over or slow down’

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- On his way back from a court appearance Wednesday, Officer Mark Lantz responded to a car crash on Interstate 64 East near the city.

According to the Virginia State Police, Officer Lantz stopped to help in the left lane and activated his blue lights. Moments later a van slammed into the back of his car as he sat inside.

Thankfully, Officer Lantz and the driver of the van only sustained minor injuries.

"He's doing well. I did speak with him this morning, and obviously he is sore," Lt. Lauren Hummel, the public information officer for Henrico Police, said.

But Lt. Hummel and other members of law enforcement across the state want people to start taking the state's Move Over law, which applies to vehicles displaying red blue or amber colored lights (including VDOT vehicles and Tow trucks), more seriously.

"If there is some sort of a public safety vehicle that has their lights on the law is that you move a lane over, and if you're not able to move a lane over the instructions are that you slow down to a safe speed and to proceed with caution and to be aware of who you're passing," Hummel said.

Just in the past several months, we've seen numerous examples of emergency workers hit while responding to crashes:

A driver rear-ended a Chesterfield firetruck in mid-December near the Chippenham Parkway.

Just a few days before, two Virginia State Police troopers were hit in their patrol cars on I-81 in Pulaski and I-95 in Hanover.

In October, Hanover firefighter Lt. Brad Clark was killed, and three other firefighters were injured when the driver of a tractor-trailer drove into their firetruck as they worked a crash on I-295.

They're all examples of why Lt. Hummel wants drivers to stay alert.

"Is this something folks are talking about within the department like they're getting concerned for their safety anytime they're pulling off on the side of the road?" CBS 6 reporter Melissa Hipolit asked Hummel.

"Well, definitely," Hummel replied. "Our patrol officers, that is their office day in and day out, and we want our officers to be able to go home to spend time with their families at the end of each tour."

The driver in the Henrico crash Wednesday was charged with reckless driving.

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