(BLOOMFIELD) - Imagine the horror of speeding down a Greene County highway in a sheriff's department vehicle.
Nick Schneider, of the Greene County Daily World reports, you are heading to an emergency call.
The emergency blue and red lights are flashing and the siren is clear and distinctly sounded on the responding police vehicle.
Traffic in front of you or approaching you may slow down, but fails to yield and pull over as required by state law.
This is dangerous situation for the motorist and the emergency responder and Greene County Sheriff Terry Pierce says this is a common occurrence for him and his deputies as they answer calls on a daily basis.
Ambulance, fire truck and other first responders experience the same scenario too frequently, according to the sheriff.
Greene County Ambulance Director David Doane said he had a unit from the Bloomfield station wreck about a month ago, because in part, a motorist failed to pull over on a very icy morning while the unit was heading to a wreck call in the southern part of the county.
"They got behind a vehicle that wouldn't pull over. They had the sirens and the lights were going and they were hitting the horn. So the (ambulance service) employee tapped the brake and they started sliding. They thought we are going to go out of control and we're going to hit this vehicle. So they went in the other lane to go around them (the motorist), when they did that the whole thing (the ambulance) spun around about three times and they hit a ditch," Doane explained.
To make it even more aggravating for Doane, the motorist slowed down when the ambulance was ditched and as soon as they saw the EMTs getting out of the ambulance, they sped off without stopping.
No one was hurt, but the vehicle sustained about $4,500 in damage.
"We just hope everyone will pull over when they see us coming," Doane said. "It protects us as well as them."
According to state law, motorists, when alerted to an approaching authorized emergency vehicle, are required to:
* Yield the right-of-way.
* Immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the highway clear of any intersection.
* Stop and remain in the position until the emergency vehicle has passed.
"This has been a problem," Pierce said. "Many of them (the motorists) slow down, but don't pull over."
Deputy James O'Malley agrees the situation creates a safety concern.
"We have been experiencing a lot of problems with citizen vehicles failing to yield to emergency vehicles. Most will slow down, however, they will continue to travel in the roadway and not pull over and stop. It is nearly impossible to pass them safely," O'Malley stated.
"The public's motor vehicle assistance in providing a clear lane of travel for authorized emergency vehicles is always greatly appreciated. Providing this clear lane of traffic to emergency vehicles will aid in reducing the time of arrival to their destination, provide a safer avenue of travel for emergency personnel.
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