TowForce Posted August 2, 2022 Share Posted August 2, 2022 Fairfield firefighters, police make donation in honor of tow truck driver killed on highway FAIRFIELD — Firefighters in town respond to hundreds of incidents every year on the Merritt Parkway and Interstate 95, but they’re trained well enough not to worry about what they’ll deal with when they get to crash scenes, Lt. Bob Smith said Monday. Though there are exceptions. “What I do worry about is the hundreds of vehicles that pass, some at very high rates of speed, without slowing down or moving over,” Smith said Monday. “Others have distracted drivers holding their cellphone out the window trying to get a glimpse and that magical shot they can post on social media.” Even more of a concern: people who decide to get behind the wheel after drinking. Like the Weston man who was driving a BMW more than 90 miles per hour on the Merritt on April 22, 2020 when he struck and killed Corey Iodice, a 58-year-old tow truck operator who was loading a disabled car on the shoulder of the road. In the aftermath of Corey Iodice’s death, his sister, Cindy, founded an organization called Flagman to draw attention to the “Move Over” state law requiring drivers to give a wide berth to emergency workers on roadways. She and her brother, Chris, who works as a tow truck driver, were joined by firefighters, police, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal and First Selectwoman Brenda Kupchick Monday to receive a $4,000 contribution — $1,000 apiece from the fire department, police department, and the unions representing firefighters and police officers. Those gathered at Monday’s event called on drivers to pay more attention. “We just want to get home after doing our job,” Chris Iodice said. “It’s hard to look over your shoulder when you’re trying to conduct what we’re doing out there.” Fire Chief Denis McCarthy fondly remembered Corey Iodice Monday, saying that when responding to “difficult, tangled emergency scenes,” firefighters were reassured when he showed up and confident he could deal with whatever challenges came. “It only takes a second to slow down, move over, pass the accident, and resume travel,” McCarthy said. First responders park their trucks at crashes to shield accident scenes as much as possible, Smith said, and the vehicles are decked out with lights and reflective striping to alert motorists. “Tragically, sometimes that’s still not enough,” he said. “It’s time for something to change.” The driver who killed Corey Iodice was sentenced in May to serve four and a half years in prison. While Blumenthal said no prison sentence would bring him back, he said highlighting the issue might prevent some of the deaths of emergency responders on roads, one of which occurs every 4.65 days. He said he plans on introducing a “Move Over Resolution” in the Senate this week with bipartisan support to further public awareness. “It’s very simple: if you see an emergency vehicle, see a tow truck operator, any kind of vehicle that’s trying to help someone on the road, slow down and move over,” Blumenthal said. “A tow truck operator is just simply doing their job, they’re responding to an emergency, they’re there to help,” Kupchick said. “They shouldn’t have to lose their lives for simply doing their job.” Fairfield Police Lt. Michael Paris said the department enforces the law by periodically having officers conducting traffic stops monitored by other officers, who can then stop a passing motorist if they don’t follow the law. Local police departments often receive grants to conduct special crackdowns on things like texting while driving or not wearing a seatbelt. Paris said there are no similar programs for enforcement of the “Move Over” law — yet. “This is hopefully the start of that,” he said, noting that bad driving in general has been on the rise recently, reflecting national trends. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in May that preliminary estimates show a 16-year high for traffic fatalities on U.S. highways in 2021. “We see speeding, we see wrong-way drivers, we see intoxication,” Paris said. “We see these things on an uprise, which is scary, because at one point it was lowering.” RESOURCE LINK @Flagman Inc. VIDEO LINK 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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