Sheriff’s deputy hit twice on Beltline; urging people to slow down, move over

MADISON, Wis. —  This has not been a good week for Dane County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Novotny.

While out clearing debris off the Beltline earlier this week, Novotny said a driver failed to move over for his vehicle which had it’s flashing lights on, and the driver ended up crashing into his door. The next day, Novotny was rear-ended.

“The law specifically says that when you see an emergency vehicle, any vehicle that has flashing lights, they’re required to move over first,” he said.

Novotny said during a typical eight-hour shift, he gets up to 24 calls to clear debris or respond to crashes. He said about 80% of drivers obey the move-over law, but the other 20% puts his life in danger while he is trying to make the roads safer for everyone.

“You’ve got vehicles coming really fast behind you and they should be slowing down, but they’re not, and that puts my life in danger,” he said.

Drivers can face a $360 ticket and six points against their record for failing to move over.

“I can’t even get in my own truck safely. I have to wave at them to move over,” he said. “A line of six vehicles passing us right now. They’re not even slowing down.”

Novotny said during his near 20 years doing the job, he’s seen plenty of violations.

“They choose not to do that because they have to work on actually moving from one lane to another lane,” he said. “But if they don’t do that, I might not be able to go home at the end of my shift.”

Getting home to his family is something that’s on Novotny’s mind every day. Now, he’s hoping that is on everyone else’s mind the next time they pass any vehicle pulled off on the side of the road:

“I wish people would listen to your story, listen to the PSA that the DOT puts out and when you see emergency lights, get away from them as far as possible and then you’ll be safe.”