AUSTIN (KXAN) — As police were investigating a fatal crash on Loop 360 early Friday morning, someone in an SUV broke through barricades and tried to drive through the crash scene. APD used one of its vehicles to bring the SUV to a stop just short of a tow truck facing what would be oncoming traffic, were the road open.
Mike Pohl, owner of Chote’s Wrecker Service, estimates about 75% of the time he’s out on a scene, whether that be on the side of the road helping a motorist or at a more serious crash where the road is completely shut down, someone neglects to move over, slow down or yield to responders.
He says at this point, he doesn’t turn his back to traffic.
“There’s people that have families, people are waiting at home for these drivers to come home whether it’s a police officer, tow truck driver,” he said. “They’re doing a dangerous job, so they’re having to focus on what they’re doing on that job while they’re out on the road, so they can’t completely always be paying attention for a car that might come running into them.”
KXAN crews watched APD talk to the person in the SUV and then let them drive away. APD said the driver of the SUV has not been charged at this time, but that could change at a later date.
Slow down, move over
Under Texas law, if you are driving past an emergency vehicle or tow truck on the road you must either move over a lane or slow down to 20 miles an hour below the posted speed limit or less.
If you’re in a residential area where the speed limit is less than 25 miles an hour, you need to slow down to 5 miles an hour.
Not following those rules is a misdemeanor offense in the state of Texas and can carry a $500 fine. That charge can be worse if you injure or kill someone.
“Get over a lane, slow it down,” Pohl said.