California Highway Patrol Officer killed in the line of duty

CHP Officer Down Lucas Chellew

Officer Lucas Chellew was killed in a motorcycle crash near the intersection of Stockton Boulevard and Fruitridge Road, in Sacramento, while pursuing another motorcycle.  Officer Chellew's motorcycle crashed during the pursuit. The motorcyclist he was pursuing fled the scene and remains at large.  Officer Chellew was a U.S. Army veteran.  He had served with the California Highway Patrol for eight years and was assigned to the South Sacramento Area Office.  He is survived by his wife, daughter, son, parents and sister. His father was a retired CHP officer and his sister also serves with the agency.

2/24/17

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Michigan State Trooper describes how two good Samaritans saved his life

MSP Trooper Samaritans

Two men are in custody all thanks to the help of good Samaritans. They stopped to help the officer who was being attacked.  For the first time, we're hearing from the officer and the man who helped him.  The Michigan state trooper described it as being in slow motion even though it took about 5 minutes for everything to happen.  The trooper says there was a moment where he began to think the worst.  Michigan State Trooper Garry Guild, was patrolling U.S. 31 Monday morning.  That’s when he clocked a motorcyclist going 92 miles an hour.  "Activated my overhead lights.  Got behind the motorcycle about two three car lengths.  He pulled over to the shoulder, slowed down briefly and sped away at a high rated speed,” said Guild.  Guild followed the driver to the Niles Buchanan exit.  Michael Barber, 21, lost control and crashed.  When Guild approached him, he didn't listen.  That's when police say the two got into a physical altercation.  "So I am trying to secure him and secure my duty weapon into my holster--put it into the holster. I'm on top of him.  Trying to get him in hand cuffs,” said Guild.  While restraining Barber, Guild saw 19-year-old Travis Wise sprinting towards him but not to help.  "The next thing I know, I'm in full choke-hold.  He comes behind me and puts his elbow around my neck.  He wrenched me back about 5 to 10 feet,” said Guild.  That's when Jerry Burnham happened to be driving by.  "We were on our way down the bypass heading towards Niles to get our taxes done.  We came up on this scene.  This motorcycle laying on the side of the road and a squad car.  My wife started yelling that the police officer needed help and told me to stop and help,” said Burnham.  Burnham and another man pulled Wise off the trooper.  They held him until help arrived.  Burnham said he didn't think twice about helping.  “I really was still kind of in shock that I even got out to do something.  I just did it.  I think that he was in need of help, and that's what we should do,” said Burnham.  Burnham says several other cars passed by and even slowed, but didn't help.  He says he was in the right place at the right time.  Guild says he tries not to think about what could have happened without help from a good Samaritan.

2/24/17

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Ohio Highway Patrol renews push for "Move over and slow down" campaign after recent tragedies

OHP move over law

“Imagine this: You’re driving on the highway and see an emergency vehicle up ahead with flashing lights stopped off the side of the road.  This is the time when you need to slow down or move over one lane,” states the opening of an Ohio Highway Patrol public safety announcement for Ohio’s Move Over Law.  The OHP, through a media release, is asking motorists to help keep their fellow drivers and law enforcement officers safe by following this law, which was enacted in 2009.  “Ohio law requires all drivers to move over one lane when approaching any vehicle with flashing or rotating lights parked on the roadside.  If moving over is not possible due to traffic or weather conditions, or because a second lane does not exist, motorists should slow down and proceed with caution,” according to an OHP media release.  In 2013, the law was expanded to also cover construction and maintenance workers as well.   “By moving over, motorists are helping to protect the lives of everyone who works on or uses our roadways,” said Sgt. Jeremy Kindler of OHP Chardon Post.  “It’s not just the law; it’s the right thing to do.’  OHP Sgt. Jim Smith, who was struck by a motorist on Mayfield and Auburn roads in Munson Township on July 29, feels that people get too busy or are in too much of a rush.  “Slow down and pay attention,” Smith said.  “Those few seconds that you are saving by not doing whatever it is you are doing, isn’t saving you enough time to risk a life.  Nowhere you have to be is worth a life.”  Kindler reports that during 2016, seven officers were struck within a eight-month period.  “We are putting out public safety announcements, we just want to make sure our motorists have a good understanding of what this law is and means and also what it means to everyone involved,” Kindler said.  Kindler noted that prior to 2016, citations weren’t really issued too often for this type of violation.  “With the increase in officers being struck from 2016 up until now, that’s an infraction and a violation that we are not only stopping and talking to you about, we are issuing you a citation,” he said.  OHP is enforcing this law with teams of troopers, Kindler explained.  “We usually have more than one officer working on the interstate,” he said.  “One officer makes the traffic stop.  The other officer will sit across from them, behind them or in front of them.  They watch as the violation occurs and runs a stationary radar.  If they fail to move over, or slow down, that is when the violation occurs.”  At that point, the second officer is then able to stop the motorist for the violation.  Depending on the court, fines for failure to move over or slow down can be doubled for a first offense and require a court appearance.  Kindler emphasizes the importance of the Move Over Law with the statement, “We want to go home at the end of the day.  “That’s our main goal for a traffic stop is not only to keep everyone else safe, but also to keep us safe as well.  This is near and dear to our hearts, to make sure that we are able to go home to our families at the end of the day just like everybody else is.”  Two law enforcement officers: OHP Trooper Kenneth Velez and Cleveland police officer David Fahey, were struck and killed on I-90 within a six-month period when motorists failed to move over or slow down.  Velez was struck on I-90 near Warren Road on Sept. 15 and Fahey was struck and killed Jan. 24 while putting out flares at the scene of an accident.  “You gotta think about the person on the side of the road as a person.  Think of that person as yourself and would you want someone flying by with 3 feet of you at 60 mph,” said Smith’s wife, Tiara, after he was struck.  “People think of that officer as a car.  Instead think of that officer as yourself or someone you love and be more considerate of that person as you are flying down the road.”  Smith recalls Velez as a good friend for 25 years and one he has known his entire career.  “This one hit me and my wife more than my own did,” Smith said.  “I was lucky to survive and he didn’t.  He didn’t have to die, it was a senseless tragedy.”  As he reflected on the crash that claimed Velez’s life, Smith posed the question:  “Why when you are on a road four lanes wide, why were you in that lane, when he was standing there on the side of the road?”

2/22/17

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Number of hit and run crashes increasing, Florida says

Florida hit and run

The number of hit and run crashes in Florida has increased every year since 2013, according to figures from the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.  The data has prompted the DHSMV to designate February as Hit and Run Awareness Month in an effort to reduce the number of hit and run crashes in the state. The initiative, Stay at the Scene, is in partnership with the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Department of Transportation and AAA – the Auto Club Group.  “All motorists involved in a crash must be prepared to act responsibly and in accordance with state law,” DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes said. “Motorists are required to stay at the scene, provide certain information to the other parties involved and contact necessary law enforcement and first responders.  These actions may save a life.”  Staying at the scene is not only the law, but ensures that those impacted by a crash are safely assisted.  In 2016, there were 99,004 hit and run crashes in Florida with 15,851 resulting charges. Under Florida law, a driver must stop immediately at the scene of a crash on public or private property that results in injury or death.  Leaving the scene of a crash is a felony and a driver, when convicted, will have their license revoked for at least three years and can be sentenced to a mandatory minimum of four years in prison.  “Leaving the scene of a traffic crash is a crime,” Florida Highway Patrol Director Col. Gene Spaulding said.  “It is your responsibility to remain at the scene and immediately report the accident to law enforcement”.  You should do your best to provide immediate assistance to other motorists, passengers or pedestrians that may have been injured in the crash and wait for emergency first responders to arrive.”  Vulnerable road users, like bicyclists and pedestrians, are particularly at risk for drivers leaving the scene.  In fact, of the 179 hit and run fatalities in 2016, more than 55 percent were pedestrians.  During that same period, 18 to 28 year olds received over one third of all hit and run charges issued.  And 70 percent of those charges were filed against males.  “Leaving the scene of a crash is dangerous, and it can be deadly.  Help our officers render aid and protect lives by making the responsible decision to remain at the scene and immediately contact first responders,” said Coconut Creek Police Chief Albert (Butch) Arenal, president of the Florida Police Chiefs Association.  “Don’t make a bad situation even worse by leaving – it’s a felony.”  The most important thing a driver can do when they are involved in a crash is to Stay at the Scene and call for help.  The public is encouraged to report hit and run crashes by dialing *FHP (*347).  For more information on hit and runs and staying at the scene, go to flhsmv.gov.

2/22/17

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Two drivers in Alabama are dead in a head-on collision, and what state troopers found when they responded is tragic

ALHP father and son fatal crash

Jeffrey Brasher and Austin Brasher, 50 and 22 respectively, are dead this morning. They are father and son, according to the report from AL.com.  Both men lived in Bankston, Ala.  They collided head-on around 4:10 a.m on Fayette County 49 near Winfield.  Alabama state troopers say alcohol is a factor in the accident and that neither man was wearing a seatbelt when the crash occurred.  State police are still investigating, but they say that Jeffrey Brasher’s pickup, a 2006 Ford, lost control and hit his son’s pickup, a 2004 Chevrolet.  Authorities responded to the scene and pronounced Jeffrey Brasher dead there.  Five hours later, Austin Brasher passed away at 9:18 a.m. at the University of Alabama hospital in Birmingham.  Alabama State Police continue to investigate the accident.

2/21/17

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