State Trooper, IDOT worker injured after multiple Scott’s Law violations this week

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ILLINOIS (WMBD) — Multiple driving violations are causing Illinois State Police and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to send out a warning call.

The two following crashes happened just in the past two days, both after drivers refused to obey Scott’s Law.

Scott’s Law, also known as the “Move Over Law,” requires drivers to get over if a vehicle is on one shoulder of the road.

September 16, I-55 NB | Will County

At approximately 1:24 p.m., an ISP Trooper was blocking traffic for a commercial motor vehicle stalled ahead in the left lane on Interstate 55 northbound at milepost 257.5 (south of US Route 30) in Will County.  The Trooper was seated inside of his fully marked stationary squad car with the emergency lights activated when it was struck by a 2003 white Toyota pickup truck. The pickup truck vehicle failed to yield to the authorized emergency vehicle and struck the rear of the Trooper’s squad car. The third vehicle, a 2016 white Ford Econoline Van, traveling in the same location then struck both the pickup truck and the squad car. This impact then caused the squad car to be pushed into the left concrete median barrier before it came to rest in the left lane. The Ford van came to rest in the right ditch. The driver’s side of the squad car was then struck by a forth vehicle, a 2011 Blue Subaru SUV, as it attempted to avoid the crash. 

ISP Press Release sent to WMBD
I-290 EB

At approximately 12:37 a.m., ISP District Chicago units and IDOT units were on the scene providing traffic control for a traffic crash that occurred on Interstate 290 eastbound at Austin Boulevard. While investigating the initial crash, a 2009 maroon Acura drove through the crash scene at a high rate of speed and failed to yield right of way to the stationary emergency vehicles. The passenger side of the maroon Acura struck the driver’s side of the ISP squad car and the IDOT truck. The maroon Acura also struck multiple vehicles and three pedestrians, one of which was an IDOT maintenance truck operator. The impact from the crash with the IDOT vehicle caused the vehicle to strike the IDOT operator who was standing on the roadway at the time of the crash.

ISP press release sent to WMBD

An Illinois State Police Trooper was life-flighted to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove after a driver reportedly struck his squad car.

“He is going to survive. But was struck by a driver going through an active zone that was being blocked, traffic diverted due to a stalled semi. He was struck, a couple of hours later, there was an IDOT worker struck,” said Capt. Jason Bradley with Illinois State Police.

While Bradley believes drivers are complying more this year with Scott’s Law, he said it’s always in the back of trooper’s minds if they’re going to be hit or not.

“Are they moving out of the way? Are they paying attention? Do they see you?” Bradley said.

“It’s a very difficult job, you’re focused on the task at hand, which is the violator vehicle, you’re trained from day one in the academy that you have to be cautious of the threats inside the vehicle. Every traffic stop at the end of the day is an unknown risk traffic stop. You don’t know how the person inside the vehicle is going to respond.”

Bradley said it’s important for drivers to pay attention and not drive impaired. He said if you can’t move over, at least slowdown and be aware of the scene around you.

“Drivers need to pay attention,” Bradley said. “They also need to understand what the law is, whether it’s flashing or not flashing if it’s an emergency vehicle or a citizen that’s broken down on the side of the road, the law applies equally to everybody.”

Paul Wappel with the Illinois Department of Transportation said construction zones prove to be dangerous for workers.

“Watch your speed, be aware of the conditions around you, especially in or near work zones,” Wappel said. “The people who work in those zones are somebody’s mom, or dad, brother or sister, we want everyone to get home safely.”

Wappel said whether electronic or not, pay attention to the signs in and around construction zones. Fines for Scott’s Law start at $250 for the first offense, but there are aggravating factors. If there’s property damage involved, you lose driving privileges for 3 — 12 months.

Your driving privileges are suspended for six months — two years if someone is injured, and if there’s a death or you’re impaired during a Scott’s Law violation, jail time and fines are increased.

By Sept. 17, there have been 651 deadly crashes across the state with 711 deaths on Illinois public roadways. By this time last year, there were 662 total deadly crashes with 709 deaths.

On Friday, ISP reported one more person was struck and killed by a vehicle in Chicago.

At approximately 12:39 a.m., ISP District Chicago Troopers responded to a report of a disabled vehicle at the above location. Upon the Trooper’s arrival, three subjects were seen standing on the left shoulder of the expressway outside of the disabled vehicle. Two subjects fled the scene on foot as the Trooper exited his squad car, with two subjects running across all lanes of traffic towards the right shoulder. One pedestrian subject, a 17-year-old male, was struck in the far right lane of traffic by multiple vehicles and succumbed to his injuries at the scene.  At approximately 1:20 a.m., all westbound lanes of Interstate 290 were closed for the traffic crash investigation. At approximately 7:45 a.m., all lanes were opened. The investigation is ongoing, and there is no further information at this time.

ISP Press Release sent at 5:17 p.m. Friday

 Fatalities include motor vehicle occupants (drivers and passengers) and non-occupants (pedestrians, pedalcyclists, etc.) killed in the crash.

IDOT

Each year, over 1,400 injuries happen in Illinois’ work zones. Just last year, 30 people died in work zones across the state.

Friday, Sept. 18 marks three years since David Schwarz, a tollway maintenance worker, was killed while picking up debris on the side of the road.

“On the South Tri-State of 294 who was struck by a commercial motor vehicle driver who wasn’t obeying Scott’s Law. He was killed. Father of two, husband, and had been working for the tollway since 1992,” Bradley said.

While no troopers have been killed in the line of duty in 2020 due to Scott’s Law. Bradley said that wasn’t the case for 2019.

“District 15 lost a trooper in the line of duty due to Scott’s Law in January, Trooper Christopher Lambert, and Trooper Brooke Jones-Story in March 2019 who was District 16 in Rockford who was killed by a Scott’s Law driver as well,” Bradley said.

The “Fatal Four” violations are deadly traffic crashes. They include speeding, DUI, failure to wear a seatbelt, and distracted driving.

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