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State Trooper struck by passing vehicle

On September 4, 2011, on the eastbound lane of Interstate 96, in Leroy Township, a Michigan State Trooper was struck by a passing vehicle while returning to his patrol vehicle after a traffic stop.

The compliant suggests that while the trooper's flashing lights were on, the driver was not at least one moving lane or two vehicle widths away from the trooper's vehicle.

The driver, a Michigan Attorney, was arraigned last-week Wednesday on the charge of failing to use care while passing a police vehicle causing injury to a police officer; a felony.

Many drivers are unaware that Michigan law requires drivers to exercise due care and caution when approaching or passing a stationary authorized emergency vehicle giving visual signs; such as flashing, rotating, or oscillating red, blue, or white lights. Those that are aware of the law's requirements often don't understand that a violation of the law is a crime, and not a civil infraction.

The law requires drivers to yield the right-of-way to the police vehicle by merging one driving lane to the left or two vehicle lengths apart from the stationary police vehicle where possible. If this maneuver is not possible, a driver is required to reduce and maintain a safe speed for the present condition, proceeding with due care and caution, or as directed by the officer.

A person who violates this law may be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment up to 90 days, and/or a fine up to $500.00.

A person who violates this law and causes injury to an emergency response person in the immediate area of the stationary emergency vehicle may be charged with a felony punishable by imprisonment up to two years, and/or a fine up to $1,000.00.

A person who violates this law and causes death to an emergency response person in the immediate area of the stationary emergency vehicle may be charged with a felony punishable by imprisonment up to 15 years, and/or a fine up to $7,500.00.

Our office has been successful in having these criminal traffic violations reduced to civil infractions, often without any points added to our client's driving record.

If you have been charged with not exercising due care and caution while passing a stationary authorized emergency vehicle giving visual signs, it is imperative that you retain an experienced defense attorney who can protect your interests and present a solid defense.

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