DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado State Patrol says the number of citations for drivers failing to move over has doubled compared to 2016 as the agency marks one year since Trooper Cody Donahue was killed because a truck drifted into the shoulder while he next to his patrol car and another car he pulled over along Interstate 25.
“Lives are lost,” said CSP Chief Scott Hernandez back in July. “You have to pay attention, it’s serious, we’ve lost too many people on these highways.”
The number of citations increased from more than 1,000 in 2016 to over 2,000 even before the final month of 2017, according to reports confirmed by CBS4. Hundreds of those citations came after a new law passed over the summer giving tougher penalties to drivers that hit a law enforcement officer or emergency crew worker because they did not leave enough space. The penalty was even more severe if someone died because of the driver failing to move over to another lane.
“It’s going to help spread awareness to others and hopefully nothing like this will ever happen to anyone else,” said Velma Donahue, the trooper’s wife, back in March.
A year before the death of Donahue, another trooper was killed not too far from him on I-25. Jaimie Jursevics died in 2015 while responding along the highway and outside of her cruiser. CSP admits that since the new law, they are enforcing the policy more than before so that could explain the increase in citations. But with holiday travel just beginning for the season, there is another opportunity to remind drivers to be extra cautious on the road.
“Slow down and move over,” state Sen. Chris Holbert, a Republican representing Parker, said back in March. “Because two drivers didn’t do that, a mom and dad didn’t come home.”