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Powhatan deputy who lost his legs in distracted-driving crash raises awareness about 'Move Over' law

Posted at 6:48 AM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 06:49:01-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- With more Americans hitting the roads for the holiday weekend, there's an increased danger for first responders working on the side of the road to save lives or clear accidents.

Virginia's 'Move Over Law' states if you’re driving down the highway or interstate and see yellow, red or blue flashing lights, you must try to move over a lane or slow down if it’s not safe to move over.

This law was put it place to save lives, something Powhatan Sheriff's Office Deputy Brad Hughes knows firsthand.

Hughes was working a traffic accident in Chesterfield County in 2014 when he was hit by a distracted driver.

He lost both of his legs, and ever since he's made it his mission to educate Virginians about why it's so important to move over for law enforcement and other first responders on the roads.

"When you do cause an injury like this, the dangers are real," Hughes explained. "And this is not a prop that I have in front of me, so it gives everybody an opportunity to see exactly what happens when you fail to move over."

So far in 2021, at least three fire trucks in Virginia have been hit while responding to accidents, including Richmond and Hanover Fire.

Hughes added 52 tow truck drivers have been killed while working on the side of the road in the past six months.

"We all have family members who are on the side of the road each and every day," said Hughes. "Whether you're a first responder, or you just broke down on the side of the road, think about it. That's you on the side of the road, you would want somebody to do that for you. So slow down and move over."

Hughes also wants people to remember the hands-free cellphone law.

He also said don't be in a rush this holiday weekend because taking your time and not speeding or driving distracted helps ensure men and women like him can return home to their families.