One year after trooper's death, an important plea

It's been a full year since a trooper was killed by a driver on the side of the road.

DOUGLAS COUNTY - For the Colorado State Patrol, Black Friday has a much different meaning. Trooper Josh Lewis made that clear in a video he posted on Facebook.

"We lost Trooper Cody Donahue the day after Thanksgiving last year," Lewis said in the video. "His death was absolutely senseless and unfortunately, it's not the last one." 

Donahue was the third State Trooper killed in a period of 18 months. Trooper Jaimie Jurservics was killed a year earlier in almost the same spot as Donahue when she was hit by a drunk driver while working an accident scene. Trooper Taylor Thyfault was killed in May 2015 when a suspect fleeing police hit him and another Trooper while working an accident scene. 

This year, a new law was passed making tougher penalties for drivers who refuse to move over and slow down for law enforcement or other workers along the side of the road. It's called the "Move Over for Cody" law.

"A common sense law that used to be a common courtesy," Lewis said in the video.

Now, if someone does not move over and causes the death of someone working on the roadside, the driver can be convicted of a felony and sent to prison. 

"You need to move over to give them the room they need to be able to do their job safely so they could go home to their families," Tamara Rollison, Colorado Department of Transportation spokesperson, said.

Rollison says CDOT works hard to deliver the message to drivers through social media, message boards and permanent signs.

"But, motorists need to be much more vigilant than they are then they're driving on the road," Rollison said.

She says when drivers see an ambulance or fire truck behind them with their sirens on, people usually make room. Rollison says it should be automatic when they see a worker or officer on the roadside, too.

"It takes awhile to be able to get that ingrained into driving behaviors," Rollison said.

In the video, Lewis says he just wants drivers to obey the law so everyone can be safe.

"So, please on behalf of all first responders, all tow operators, all maintenance crews; when you see the flashing lights, follow the law. Move over. Slow down and pay attention," Lewis said in the video.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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