RV driver says one change could have prevented officer's death - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

RV driver says one change could have prevented officer's death

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Officer Michael Petrina Officer Michael Petrina
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The driver whose recreational vehicle struck and killed a Metro police officer Saturday said there were mistakes made in the minutes before the accident that could and should have been avoided.

Dean and Lucille Diver were on their way home from a Florida vacation, driving the same RV they've driven coast-to-coast and border-to-border without any problems before.

Things were going fine Saturday until they came up on a warning sign just before a blind curve on Interstate 65. The sign, Dean Diver says, gave wrong information that cost Officer Michael Petrina his life.

"There was two lanes blocked, and the sign said one lane," Dean Diver said.

The Divers both tell the same story. They were heading home to Toledo, OH, when they saw the flashing highway sign we've all seen countless times before, and Dean Diver says he barely had time to react.

"I look over. I see the sign flashing. I look in my mirror. All the lanes are blocked. I was on my brakes. I was headed right for the police car," he said. "I had no place to go in an emergency."

So Dean Diver had to make a tough choice: try to squeeze his RV between the police cruiser and a Tennessee Department of Transportation help truck, or take out all the traffic in the lanes on his left.

He tried to miss the cruiser but didn't.

Dean Diver said if the highway sign gave the right information, Petrina would be alive today.

"If it had said two right lanes blocked, it would have been a lot better," he said. "We both saw the sign. I pulled over immediately and started slowing down, but coming over that blind curve, I couldn't believe it. I just didn't have a chance."

Dean Diver said he is praying for the family of the fallen officer.

"That's all we can do is pray for them," he said.

Both Lucille and Dean Diver say they're just torn up over this and spoke with Channel 4 News hoping that, by explaining what needs to be changed, another tragedy can be avoided.

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