WHITE COUNTY (WSIL) — This year alone, 26 Illinois State Trooper cruisers have been hit by drivers failing to obey Scott’s Law and those crashes resulted in the deaths of 3 troopers.
A Fairfield couple met with State Troopers Wednesday after they were almost hit by a Scott’s Law violator during wintry weather last week. The couple credit the troopers for saving their lives.
"God was watching out for us. That is it. He saved all of us that day," said Peggy Vaught. She and her husband, Bud, didn’t want to miss an appointment at the Marion VA last week despite hazardous road conditions.
"It was icy that day and we talked about maybe turning around and going back," said Bud, with Peggy adding, "But it’s so hard to get into the VA down there at Marion — so we really wanted to make the appointment."
Westbound on Interstate 64, the couple hit a patch of ice, slid into a ditch and ended up with a flat tire. Illinois State troopers were quickly on the scene.
"He already had the tire on, letting it down off the jack, when this happened," said Peggy, describing a scene in which a box truck comes crashing into them. "We were getting ready to depart and somebody yelled ‘RUN,’ and that’s all I remember until I woke up in the ditch."
Peggy suffered a broken arm, some bumps and bruises and said State Troopers Adam Zimmerman and Jonathan Pflaum saved her life that day. The Fairfield couple met with them in Carmi Wednesday for the first time since the incident last week.
The driver of the truck was uninjured. He was cited for "driving too fast for conditions."
"He didn’t obey the laws," said Peggy. "He didn’t slow down. He didn’t move over. He just ignored all the laws."
Drivers ignoring the "Move Over" law, known as Scott’s law, is on the rise in Illinois. Since January 1, 2019 nearly 70 ISP squad cars have been involved in crashes with 26 of them Scott’s law related.
Troopers are calling last week’s incident on I-64 the "Miracle on Ice"
Trooper Adam Zimmerman said his training played a large role in keeping the Vaughts safe.
"We saw the truck coming at us and we reacted properly," said Zimmerman. "I’m not sure how much luck there was, but we are blessed and it is a miracle that nothing (worse) did occur."
Scott’s Law went into effect in 2002 and requires drivers passing an authorized emergency vehicle to slow Down and change lanes if possible.