Two squad cars struck on Highway 41, despite recent effort to catch violators of "Move Over Law"

WINNEBAGO COUNTY (WITI) -- Two squad cars were smashed up after being hit on the same highway in Winnebago County on Sunday, November 16th. No one was hurt, but officers say it points out the roadside dangers -- and those dangers increase when roads are slick. Sunday's crashes came despite a recent effort to catch drivers who aren't moving over -- as the law requires.

A Wisconsin State Trooper stopped to investigate a crash on Highway 41 in Neenah on Sunday when his squad car was struck.

"Within about half-an-hour the two agencies had two cars struck," Sgt. Tim McGrath with the Wisconsin State Patrol said.

The other agency was the Winnebago County Sheriff's Department, which now has a totaled squad car.

A lieutenant was also on 41 -- heading to help the trooper when he saw a car stopped on the side of the Lake Butte des Morts Bridge.

"He stopped for that vehicle to provide assistance," Winnebago County Sheriff's Captain Todd Christie said.

Captain Christie says the lieutenant had the driver of that car sit in his squad to stay warm. That's when Christie says another car heading north on 41 crashed into the squad -- but it wasn't over.

"This vehicle was then struck again by what would be a second motorist, second vehicle.  So this squad was struck two different times," Captain Christie said.

Sergeant McGrath says no one was seriously hurt in any of those crashes.

"Definitely lucky, although we're not always that lucky," Sgt. McGrath said.

McGrath says these incidents highlight the importance of the state's Move Over Law. According to the law, when you see a vehicle on the side of the road, you should move over to the next lane, or, if it's unsafe to change lanes, at least slow down.

"With LEDs you can generally see the lights from a long distance away.  So in my opinion, there's not much excuse for not seeing them," Sgt. McGrath said.

In fact the State Patrol and Winnebago County Sheriff's Department had just completed a joint project Thursday, November 13th to catch and pull over Move Over Law violators.   At the end of the day, 21 drivers had been stopped and ticketed.

But officers aren't surprised that with the weather change and slippery roads Sunday the crashes happened.

"This wasn't a surprise that we had vehicles struck this weekend, because we have vehicles struck every year, every winter," Sgt. McGrath said.

The officers ask drivers to put themselves in the officers' shoes.

"That's our office -- working on the side of the road," Captain Christie said.