OHP urges drivers to follow Move Over law

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BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- Troopers say while the Oklahoma "Move Over Law" has been in effect for years, many people just don't pay attention.

That hits close to home after one of their own, Trooper Nicholas Dees was hit and killed last month by a driver, who investigators say was distracted on his phone.

Another Trooper, David McCutcheon, was not only friends with Trooper Dees, McCutcheon was involved in an accident while on duty several years ago that forced him to leave law enforcement for two years.

He says when you approach a scene, be aware of everything on the road, especially first responders.

"Just slow down and make it by us so that we can go home safe and they can go home safe," said McCutcheon.

By law in Oklahoma, drivers must slow down and if possible, change lanes, when approaching a scene with emergency vehicles.

It's a message that all OHP Troopers want drivers to be aware of.

"Most importantly, we want to go home to our families just like everyone else does," said OHP Lt. Scott Hampton. "The Move Over Law is something that has been a law for several years. Unfortunately we have to have a law for something that is common sense."

Trooper McCutcheon says the Move Over Law can make all the difference.

While working traffic control on Highway 69-75 in Durant, in July 2011, his car was hit.

"The vehicle came through at highway speeds, about 68 miles per hour, and he rear ended me," McCutcheon.

McCutcheon sustained injuries to his abdomen, head, and needed neck surgery--which forced him to take a medical retirement.

He was reinstated this year.

"The day I was reinstated is the day Trooper Dees was killed and it hit home because I knew that I was that close and it could have gone either way for me," said McCutcheon.

McCutcheon, who was also Dees' friend, says he wants drivers to be aware that when law enforcement and first responders are on scene, they are working to make sure everyone is safe.

"If you take that time to slow down for us, you could be saving someone's life," McCutcheon said. "Most importantly, pay attention when you're driving."

Troopers advise drivers to slow down at least 15-20 miles when approaching a scene.

The penalty for failing to slow down or change lanes is a ticket with a fine of $211.50.

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