Lawmakers push for felony 'move over' charges in wake of trooper deaths

Posted at 5:20 PM, Apr 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-10 20:44:33-04

DENVER -- Colorado's “move over” law is not new, but Monday, legislators introduced a new bill, SB 229, that would increase the punishment against drivers that do not follow the law and would expand protection for non-emergency vehicles and workers.

It's a dangerous job but Jason Schwab has stuck with it for 12 years. He works for Extreme Towing in Aurora, a company that both the city of Denver and CDOT contracts with.

"A lot of times, we don't have the police behind us. You know it's just us out there," Schwab said.

He said he’s gotten used to the close calls, but not to losing friends.

"I've had a mirror clip me in the back. The lady didn't even know she hit me.”

Schwab also told Denver7 about a friend who was killed while on the job.

"He got hit by a Fed Ex truck out by Watkins. He didn't have the cops behind him."

Lawmakers want to push for harsher penalties, like a felony charge, for drivers that don't give a lane of space to crews on the side of the road, or at least try to if they are blocked by traffic.

The changes come after two troopers, Cody Donahue and Jaimie Jursevics, were killed in separate incidents. Both were hit and killed by drivers who did not mover over, along I-25.

Colorado State Senator Chris Holbert (R) is a co-sponsor of the bill.

"Whether they're out there maintaining roads, or enforcing laws, rescuing people or clearing the snow, we all benefit from having those people on our roadways. We need to give them a break," Holbert said.

If the bill is passed into law, CDOT will work with lawmakers to put the word out about these changes. It will include more signage and implementing a “safety awareness zone” throughout the 3-mile stretch between the locations where Donahue and Jursevics were killed.

Schwab said it will give him the peace of mind he needs to keep on towing.

"Taking caution and the fact that other people are trying to make things safer for them, so they can get home safely to their families."

Denver7 will follow the developments of the bill.



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