#MoveOver campaign reaches Pitt County

#MoveOver campaign reaches Pitt County

PITT COUNTY - While law enforcement officers are out in full force monitoring the busy roadways, they are hoping social media will remind travelers about the move over law.

Several agencies are tweeting "#moveover" to refresh drivers memories of the need to move over when emergency vehicles with flashing lights are on the side of the road.

The campaign started after Michael Petrina, a police officer in Tennessee, was hit and killed by a car while working a traffic crash earlier this month. First responders across the nation haven taken this tragedy and turned it into an educational opportunity.

"It's very nerve racking when someone goes by you going 60-70 miles per hour and you are standing 4 foot from where they went by," Sgt. Ray Waters with the Pitt County Sheriff's Office said.

Waters has had his share of close calls.

"The main thing is safety for everyone on the motoring highway," he said.

Winterville Community Fire Chief Jonathan Heltzel said his department is onboard with the movement.

"If you're driving down the road and you see flashing lights, whether it be red, blue, orange, yellow, regardless of the color, move over into the next lane and give us that room that we need to safely operate," he said.

Heltzel said when they are in the middle of an emergency situation, they need to focus on the victim and if passers-by move over they can do just that.

"It creates a safe zone for us when they do move over in to the next lane," Heltzel said.

Authorities said if you can't move over, then you are asked to slow down below the speed limit so that nobody gets hurt. If drivers can move over and they don't, they can be cited and charged a $250 fine, according to Waters.

"The whole goal of this law is to make sure everyone goes home safe," Sgt. Waters said.

According to, since 1999 more than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been hit and killed by vehicles along highways across the U.S.

If you would like to show your support for the movement, take a picture of yourself holding a "#moveover" sign, put it on Twitter or Facebook and then tag the Pitt County Sheriff's Office.

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