CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas law states if there are emergency vehicles on the side of the road, you must move over to another lane. If you can’t, you must slow down 20 miles per hour under the speed limit. So, if the speed limit is 25 miles per hour, you have to slow down to 5 miles per hour.
“I’ve been on this highway for the last 20 years working and we’ve had a lot of close calls. Luckily, they never resulted in any fatality," said special investigator for the Nueces County District Attorney's Criminal Interdiction Unit, Mike Tamez.
Tamez and three other units were parked along U.S. 77 near Driscoll around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday. They were searching a car during a traffic stop, and all four cruisers had their flashing lights on.
“An 18-wheeler going about 70 miles an hour didn’t pay attention to our officer," Tamez said. "He had to jump inside the truck we searched and get another officer that was standing with him, pushed him back in the truck. I’m talking one..about an inch away from striking our officers.”
Down U.S. 77, Bishop police have had issues with this as well.
"A few years ago the Texas legislature expanded what vehicles are actually covered under that law to include tow trucks, utility vehicles, TxDOT vehicles due to the amount of workers that were out on the roadways getting injured," said Bishop Police Chief Edward Day.
With this recent incident, law enforcement is again urging people to educate themselves on the law. The mistake here can be costly.
“Motorists seem to disregard the flashing lights even when they have a vacant lane next to them and are able to move over," Day said. "A lot of times they don’t either because they have a distraction in the vehicle or they’re just unaware of the law.”
“It’s very frustrating," Tamez said. "I mean…tragedy was prevented last night. But unfortunately, year to date we’ve had 99 law enforcement officers throughout the United States that have been killed due to traffic incidents just like that.”
The truck driver on Tuesday night was pulled over.
Law enforcement can hand you a citation if you don't move over or slow down. The penalty is increased if someone is injured or killed.