Lawrence County deputy’s patrol car hit in icy crash on I-44

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 3:26 PM CST
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LAWRENCE COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - A Lawrence County Deputy saved himself when a tractor-trailer slid out of control towards him.

It happened the night of Jan. 29 on I-44 as the deputy was responding to another crash. Deputy William Blankenship jumped over a cable barrier in the middle of the interstate to get out of the way of an oncoming semi. He said if he hadn’t moved, he easily could have been crushed.

“It’s seconds. If I hadn’t moved in that amount of time and it would have been me between the two cars,” said Deputy Blankenship.

A routine crash response turned terrifying for Lawrence County Deputy Blankenship.

”Turned around just at the nick of time to see the semi turn sideways and go into my cruiser, started pushing my cruiser towards us,” said Deputy Blankenship.

Deputy Blankenship was in the median of I-44, right by the Halltown exit. He said a car cut off the semi, causing the truck to jack-knife into his squad car.

”Went from one single car slide off to where I had two semis turned sideways,” said Deputy Blankenship. “Plus two other cars on the opposite side of the roadway that I had to deal with.”

He said he was the only one injured, and it was from jumping over the barrier. Even with minor injuries, he stayed behind and helped everyone in the crash. Then he got medical attention.

Lawrence County Sheriff Brad Delay said everyone should know the ‘Move Over, Slow Down’ law.

”Any type of emergency vehicle that’s roadside, it requires a driver if at all possible and to simply slow down and move to the opposite lane,” said Sheriff Delay,

He said if you can’t do this, just slow down. But this law was made specifically for events like this.

”It’s extremely aggravating that someone, one of my deputies could have been killed in something that was totally preventable,” said Sheriff Delay.

Deputy Blankenship said it’s always a hard phone call to the family when he could have been killed.

”Family just kind of expect that they’re going to hear some bad things,” said Deputy Blankenship. “But they’re hoping it’s not the one bad thing, that we’re not coming home.”

Sheriff Delay said the cable barriers in the middle of highways save lives, especially in accidents like these. He also said if you ever see red, blue, or orange lights, it takes a few seconds to move over. You could be saving a life.

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