Memphis Police cruiser crashes in midtown - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis Police cruiser crashes in midtown

"I'm kinda shook up." That's what Vernon Horner said when Tuesday's morning rush hour ended with crushed metal, a patrol car belly up, and Horner seeing his life flash before his eyes.

Horner was parked at Fed Ex/Kinko's, on his way to a minister's meeting. He saw the police car going westbound on Union.

The officer was on his way to a 9-1-1 hold-up, but a driver ignored the lights and siren and turned out in front of him. The patrol car swerved and hit a second car. "I saw the police car coming over on top of the bushes and it hit right on top of my car," said Vernon. The crash only clipped Vernon's tail light, but the accident shows why "Move Over" laws are critical.

Lt. Robert Chalmers with the Mermphis Police Department said, "it requires simply that a citizen yield to that vehicle and, if they can, to simply pull over to the right side of the road." He says lights and sirens mean you merge to the right to let the officer pass. There's one exception: when the emergency vehicle is stopped on the curb, you merge left.

Lt. Chalmers says cell phones, loud music and people not paying attention are usually the culprits.

In this case, police are considering charges. The typical failure to move over penalty is a misdemeanor with a fine of just $50. Other states have been known to toughen their "Move Over" laws if they weren't working.

Meanwhile, Vernon says his prayers were answered when everyone got out alive.

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