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Parents of EMT Hit By Car, Ask Drivers to Use More Caution

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 21 Aug 2013 06:10am | comments
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Hess/MPB News

The parents of an EMT hit by a car are pleading with Mississippians to move over and slow down when police and paramedics are on the road.  Two Mississippi emergency responders this year have been hit this year.

 "It is a parent's worst nightmare. There is no doubt. My heart fell immediately,"

 That is Forest Hesselbein, explaining his reaction to getting a call three weeks ago that his 27-year old paramedic daughter Jennifer had devastating injuries after being hit by a car while doing her job on the side of a road in Jackson.

 Jennifer is the second emergency responder to be hit by a vehicle this year, a Jackson police officer was hit and killed a few days before Jennifer.

 Forest Hesselbein says the two incidents should send a message to all Mississippians.

 "They should pull over. I know I do. It aggravates me when I see people not doing that. I saw one the other day, the guy didn't pull over. Please pull over," Hesselbein said.

 For five years, Mississippi has had a law that requires drivers to move over as far and as safely as possible when an emergency responder is on the road side.

 Department of Public Safety Spokesman Warren Strain.

 "There is a fine that is attached to that. A person can be tickted for that and it is a misdemeanor just like any other moving violation," Strain said.

 Paramedics take extra steps to ensure that motorist can see and avoid them says EMT Eric Phillips.

 "Our policy to begin with is safety first. In those particular situations we always wear a safety vest every time we got out on the road way. We have got lights on every time we stop," Phillips said.

 Mississippi ranks 10th in the nation for pedestrians killed by vehicles, with 50 deaths in 2010.

 It is not clear how many first Mississippi responders are hit each year, or how that number has changed since the move over law took effect.

 

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Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Hess/MPB News


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