My Ride Along
The ride along with State Trooper Lawrence Hopper was quite the experience. Our day started at 1:00pm on Friday afternoon. Trooper Hopper just one day prior had his Crown Vic cruiser exchanged for one of the newer Chargers. He said “Now we will be able to catch the speeders.”
We investigated two accidents, with no serious injuries, thank goodness, assisted with traffic control during a rush hour accident, picked up one DUI and caught three, almost four speeders.
As we were transporting the DUI to the jail, I ask Trooper Hopper what happens if there is an incident right in front of you on the way to the jail. Just as I said that, he floors it as a car in the HOV lane passes us doing over 100mph. As he drives up along side the speeder, he tells me that he cannot respond because code states too much liability with a prisoner in the car. We pull up to the speeder, doing 100mph plus, Trooper Hopper stares him down through the window, the speeder slows down, pulls into the left emergency lane as we proceed to exit the freeway to the jail. I am sure the speeder was wondering what had just happened, and tells his riders that he has to head back home because he is needing to change his drawers!
We were investigating one of the accidents and I was appalled that so many drivers did not give heed the the law that requires drivers to MOVE OVER when approaching an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing.
One of the accidents happened to be on I15 at 5:20pm: rush hour. As we investigated, we were being passed by cars, trucks, semis and motorcycles going at speeds up to 70mph, in the lane directly adjacent to us. I estimate only 15% if the vehicles passing us moved over and very few of those that did moved actually slowed down. This is not acceptable.
I am going to try to raise the fine for violating this law; either by legislation or code change. Law enforcement, public safety employees and incident management employees put their lives on the line as a part of their job. Enforcing this law is difficult at best and perhaps if the consequence is steeper, it might help protect those who are trying to protect us.
I encourage and challenge all legislators to take the opportunity to ride along with a State Trooper for a day, not just four or five hours. It was an experience I will not soon forget Thank you Trooper Hopper for your service.