MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Dash camera video from a Florida Highway Patrol car shows exactly what can go wrong when drivers don’t ‘move over.
A dump truck hit the back of a trooper vehicle parked in the emergency lane.
One trooper was injured and is now suing the drivers and owners of two commercial vehicles.
On September 7, 2021, Attorney Scott Smith says his client, Trooper Deanna Martinez and another trooper were parked along the side of Florida’s Turnpike in Martin County assisting a broken-down driver.
Video shows a dump truck and a tractor trailer driving close together, and the dump truck moving into the emergency lane, hitting one patrol car, which pushed the first patrol car into a second patrol car where Martinez was sitting.
“Trooper describes this as a horrific experience, a massive collision like a bomb going off in her vehicle,” Scott said.
The lawsuit is filed against the drivers and owners of the trucks, Beville Tractor Service, Inc. and Richard Frank Beville, OAP Transportation. LLC and Luis Guzman.
In the video right after the crash, you hear the trooper trying to calm herself down.
Smith says Martinez was injured and is still waiting to return to work.
“The laws of physics take over. Our bodies are not supposed to be thrusted forward at 70 miles an hour,” Smith said. “This should have never happened. This was a preventable accident.”
Smith shared the video to highlight the importance of safe driving for large commercial vehicles and show the reason for the creation of the move over law.
We showed the video to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy, John Budensiek.
“There’s people just distracted in general, so the problem is growing,” Budensiek said.
The law is designed to protect his deputies, any emergency vehicles, sanitation drivers, and road rangers doing their jobs.
The law requires drivers to move over one lane to give emergency crews space, and if they can’t move over, drivers need to reduce their speed to at least 20 MPH under the posted speed limit.
Budensiek says the law is not always easy to enforce.
“They’re trying to deal with the car they have stopped or the crash they’re at and for them to jump in their car and chase the violator down is difficult,” Budensiek said.
Since January of 2021, Martin County deputies have written 39 warning and 58 citations.
The sheriff’s office will soon be mailing out information to new drivers about the move over law with hopes of preventing future crashes.
“They have to be able to go home to their families,” Smith said.
WPTV has reached out to OAP Transportation for a comment but awaiting a response.
We are also working to contact Beville.