See flashing lights on the side of the road? You MUST move over, or at the very least, slow down!

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Several inches of snow fell this weekend -- with a foot measured at General Mitchell International Airport. A few more inches of snow expected to fall Tuesday evening, February 3rd, a scary crash on Highway 45 near Burleigh and a County Highway worker hit by an out-of-control vehicle have law enforcement officials reminding drivers to move over when they see flashing lights on the side of the road. It's the law, and drivers who don't abide by that law could face a hefty fine.

The penalty for breaking the law is a more than $260 fine, and you could find your license suspended. Law enforcement officials say with more snow falling Tuesday evening the chances you'll see flashing lights on the side of the road only increase.

The video you'll see just above shows a scary crash on Highway 45 at Burleigh Monday, February 2nd.

Milwaukee County Sheriff's officials say a deputy was nearly struck by a car. It happened after deputies were dispatched to a disabled vehicle facing the wrong way on Highway 45 at Burleigh. The driver had spun out while trying to avoid a truck that drifted toward her vehicle -- and ended up in the median distress lane.

A deputy positioned her squad to protect the scene -- and her emergency lights were activated. As the deputy approached the vehicle, the driver began to open her door. Officials say at that same time, another vehicle travelling at a high rate of speed, lost control and careened between the squad and disabled vehicle. That vehicle struck the median wall and crashed head-on into the first car.

Officials say the striking vehicle came within inches of striking the deputy. The 24-year-old woman in the first car was ejected by the force of the impact. She landed on the freeway -- and suffered serious injuries to her face and other injuries. She was taken to Froedtert Hospital.

61-year-old Larry Ferries of Illinois now faces potential misdemeanor charges of Reckless Driving Causing Bodily Harm, which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail. If the victim’s medical condition shows broken bones or more serious internal injury, the charge may be amended to a felony charge of Reckless Driving Causing Great Bodily Harm, with up to 3 ½ years in prison possible upon conviction. Ferris was also cited for failure to move over for an emergency vehicle.

"I've been hit myself on a traffic stop. There's a lot of officers throughout their career that have been hit by vehicles that either don`t move over or they lose control because they are going too fast and they slide into it," Wisconsin State Patrol Lt. Richard Reichenberger said.

Lt. Reichenberger says the most unfortunate part is that these crashes can be avoided if you simply abide by the law.

In Wisconsin, if you see an emergency vehicle or a tow truck with flashing lights activated stopped on the side of the road -- you must move over. If it's absolutely not possible for you to move over, you must slow down.

The law applies to both highways and interstates as well as city streets.

On Monday afternoon, a Milwaukee County Highway worker was hit by and out-of-control vehicle as he tried to help an elderly woman whose vehicle was stuck in a snow bank. That happened near 73rd and Silver Spring.

"It's not about issuing tickets at all. It's about not getting people that are working in the roadway run over. The curbs are full of snow. There's less room, so people have to slow down even more," a Milwaukee Police Department spokesperson said.

When the roads are wet or snow-covered, your reaction time as a driver is diminished -- which is just another reason why it's so important to slow down and pay attention to your surroundings.

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  • Popcorn

    Best, most accurate explanation of WI’s “Move Over Law” I’ve ever read in the media. Thank you, Fox6, for your effort in making the public aware of this, whereby keeping Police Officers & other emergency workers safe. It’s appreciated!

  • Mike Karnow

    So… what’s the definition of “slow down”? What is considered slowing down? I imagine a very open-ended answer just full of misinformation and misinterpretation of the law.

  • honky

    And also with a vehicle with flashing lights blocking the roadway. Means go around. Dont sit there and expect the vehicle with the flashing lights to move, until what is a hazard is moved. I swear people on the north side can be arrogant idiots.

  • Mean Mountain Matt

    I’ve noticed a lot of fools not moving over, I hope they all get tickets. There’s also the problem of trying to merge over but being blocked out, I never experienced that, but I have seen drivers trying to merge over, only to be blocked out.

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