Several police-involved accidents highlight need for 'move over' law

PERRYVILLE, Md. - The fresh paint on Route 40 westbound in Perryville marks the reconstruction effort of an accident Rachel Barr cannot un-see: the sight of her father-in-law getting struck by a car as he directed traffic following an accident Friday.

"Horrific. I don't know how to put it into words," Barr said. "Watching your father-in-law being struck by a motor vehicle and then go provide patient care to him."

Barr's father-in-law, David Barr Sr., a retired career fighter and now Perryville volunteer was working as a fire police captain Friday, managing the traffic around an accident on Route 40 near the Maryland 222 intersection.

Rachel Barr was there assisting; the red line runs deep with the Barr family, but just as she turned her head she saw David Barr get hit, roll up on the hood of the car and lay on the highway with severe head injuries.

The 65-year-old is now in a Delaware hospital in critical condition.

"Doing our best to get through a horrible tragedy but it's day by day and it's going to be a long road until recovery," Rachel Barr said..

But in a fire company this small, family defies blood lines and the road to recovery is something all of these firefighters share, including Perryville Chief Shawn Buchanan.

While Friday's accident remains under investigation, the chief can't stress enough the importance of the ‘move-over' law requiring motorists to slow down and switch lanes when they see emergency personnel working.

"Obviously when something tragic like this occurs it affects everyone. It could be your loved one, it could be somebody else so when you are out there operating your motor vehicles please use caution and if you can get over please do so to give us that room so we can operate as safely as we possibly can," Buchanan said.

It is the same message Maryland State Police are repeating after they charged a driver this morning for violating the ‘move-over' law.

A trooper was working an accident on the outer loop of I-695 near Rt. 702 in Essex when a driver slammed right into the back of his squad car. The trooper will be OK, but this is now the third incident for state police in almost as many weeks.

This includes the Oct. 6 accident involving Trooper Jacqueline Kline, who was critically injured while assisting at a traffic stop in Glen Burnie. She was recently released from Shock Trauma, but now faces a long and expensive road toward recovery. State police have organized a 5K run for Nov. 10 in Sykesville to help cover he many expected expenses.

"When we are on the side of the road, we are doing our jobs. Give us that space and that area of safety so we can safely do our jobs," said Sgt. Marc Black, a state police spokesman.

It is a simple concept EMS workers and police hope drivers get, knowing all too well what has been happening to their  family lately doesn't have to happen at all.

"You need to slow down and move over because this, as horrific as it is, could have all been avoided," Rachel Barr said.

In the past few weeks alone there have seen five of these incidents in our area. This includes last Thursday when a Baltimore City police officer got hit from behind on I-83. That officer is expected to be OK.

In an effort to bring attention to this growing problem, state police last Monday cracked down on move over offenders . In just one day, troopers ended up issuing 335 citations and 484 warnings to drivers who did not heed the move over law.






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