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‘Common event’ takes ‘uncommon turn’ on Interstate 95

Posted at 7:47 PM, Nov 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-13 13:06:15-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- It was an accident that shut down traffic for hours on Interstate 95 South 

According to Virginia State Police (VSP), a state trooper pulled over to the side of the road to assist a disabled vehicle. The officer quickly noticed the driver was already outside of the vehicle.

That individual, who has yet to be identified, then began to run away from the officer, police said.  Moments later a  struggle ensued in the grassy median, and then the driver began to run. That is when, shortly thereafter, the driver was struck by a vehicle on the 95 south portion of the interstate.

CBS 6 asked police if the officer should have had backup before pulling over to check on the disabled vehicle.

graphic for 95 ax

"It is a common event that took an uncommon turn," Keith Schilke, a former traffic police officer who now works for the lawyers Marks and Harrison.

Schilke said state police officers routinely pull over to the side of the road to assist vehicles without calling for backup, and added that there is no rule book telling officers when they can proceed towards someone, or when they must wait for assistance.

"Most police officers have that gut intuition that something just doesn't feel right," Schilke said.

Schilke told CBS 6 that the officer likely followed the individual into the median because backup would have taken too long to get there.

That is a sharp difference between state troopers and city officers. Schilke explained. Often times in the city, police back-up is just seconds away, where on the highways it is not.

"Depending on where a state trooper is, his closest backup could be five to 10 minutes away," Schilke said.

It has not been announced who the individual is, or why they ran.  The VSP did tell CBS 6 they responded to 178,635 stranded vehicles last year in Virginia.