NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) – A North Myrtle Beach police officer was not injured after his cruiser was struck Wednesday morning on S.C. 31, city officials said.
According to North Myrtle Beach city spokesperson Pat Dowling, the officer was investigating a single-car crash on S.C. 31 around mile marker 6 on the northbound side.
The officer was in the first northbound lane with emergency equipment engaged and traffic cones placed behind his patrol vehicle, Dowling said.
According to city officials, the driver of a Chevy Colorado traveling northbound on S.C. 31 did not see the patrol vehicle and struck it, which led the patrol vehicle to strike a stopped vehicle.
The Chevy Colorado also hit another car, Dowling said.
He added the officer was not in the patrol vehicle at the time and was not injured. It did not appear that others were seriously injured, according to Dowling.
“This was a very close call that could have been a much worse situation,” a post on the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety’s Facebook page stated. “Unfortunately this is not the first time we have had a vehicle struck while working an incident. Pay attention to your surroundings and give the right of way to all Emergency vehicles working at an accident scene. This includes Law Enforcement, Fire Department, EMS and Towing companies. Let them Work. Let them Live.”
Master Trooper Brian Lee and the rest of South Carolina Highway Patrol wrote 397 citations in 2019 for breaking the Move Over law. That’s nearly double from 2018.
The highway patrol has tried to develop the safest way possible to conduct roadside investigations.
“We try to position our car at an angle,” said Lee. “We try to position our car back off the roadway. We want to make sure the people approaching behind can see our blue lights. In a case like that, we want to make sure we can see the traffic coming.”
Terry Gainey, the president of the South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police, said unfortunately this a danger that officers face all the time.
“If you have worked traffic, directed traffic, or worked a crash scene, you’ve had a close encounter,” said Gainey. “More times than not, it’s caused by inattention or not paying attention to the appropriate thing.”
Lee also wants to remind people the Move Over law applies to construction workers in temporary work zones as well as law enforcement.
“A lot of times we’ll have the back of our lights on with an arrow telling people to move over, but we want them to know that in a work zone it’s important you move over also,” said Lee.
If a driver breaks the Move Over law it can result in a fine of $300 to $500.