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Sheriff: Move it over, or fork it over

By Janice Gregorson

gregor@postbulletin.com

In recent weeks, four Olmsted County sheriff’s deputies have narrowly missed being hit while out of their squads on traffic stops.

Now, drivers who don’t slow down or move over when passing an authorized emergency vehicle that is parked or stopped on or next to a street or highway might find themselves going to court.

Deputy Mike Bromberg said the department is stepping up its enforcement, with patrol deputies "tag-teaming" (working in twos).

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If one deputy makes a traffic stop, the other deputy will pay close attention to other motorists to see if they follow the state law and move over when passing the stopped squad car and deputy. If they don’t, they will pull that motorist over and issue a ticket.

Nearly six years ago, state lawmakers enacted the Move Over Law in memory of State Patrol Trooper Ted Foss of Winona. Foss was killed in August 2000 while conducting a routine traffic stop on Interstate 90. A truck passing the scene crashed into Foss’s squad car and the stopped vehicle.

On roads with two or more lanes in the same direction, a passing driver must provide a full lane of buffer space. If unable to safely move a lane away, motorists are to reduce their speed while passing.

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