SESSER, Ill.-- State police say the driver of the Greyhound bus that struck and killed 43-year-old James Miller of Sesser was in violation of Scott's Law. Officials say the firefighter was putting up hoses when he was hit shortly after 4 a.m. Friday on Interstate 57.
Scott's law went into effect after a Chicago firefighter was struck and killed on a highway. The law mandates that when approaching any police or emergency vehicle stopped along the road, the driver must proceed with caution, change lanes if possible, and slow down.
Officials say flashing lights on the roadside should be enough to prompt drivers to make room, but all too often, it's not.
"I have known several police officers that have been brushed by rear-view windows- rear-view mirrors-- a lot of close calls. We hear them at least once a week," says Trooper Bridget Rice with the Illinois State Police.
Rice says she's experienced her own share of close calls while on duty. She says the recent tragedy should serve as a wake-up call to motorists.
"If anybody sees emergency flashing lights-- yellow lights, red and blue lights," says Rice, "they're immediately-- as soon as they see them-- they're to pull over into the left lane as able and drastically slow down."
Or in circumstances when the vehicle is on the left shoulder, pull to the right lane. If that's not possible, use caution and slow down.
"As long as we see that there's an effort from them that recognizes there's someone on the side of the road, they won't be cited," says Rice.
But Rice says failure to follow Scott's law could result in jail time, and a $10,000 fine. "If not for safety reasons then for financial reasons. I mean, insurance will go up, fines, mandatory court appearances-- so if we can't appeal to people through their heart we'll try to appeal to them through their wallet."
So to avoid the consequences and save a life, Rice says it's up to drivers to do their part. "Ignorance of the law is no excuse. People need to be vigilent in driving their vehicles. Their vehicles can become weapons and they sometimes do."
Republished with permission of WSIL-TV.
Visitation and funeral services will be held at First Baptist Church of Sesser. Visitation will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 31 and from 11 a.m. until time of service Wednesday at the church.
The funeral will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1. Burial will be in Maple Hill Cemetery. Officiating will be Brother John West and Brother James Kerley.