First responders face dangers from motorists - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

First responders face dangers from motorists

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MADISON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The dangers of the profession of first responders have made headlines in recent days. A Jackson police officer was killed moving a grill out of the interstate, and a AMR paramedic was hit and injured helping a pedestrian hit by a car.

"Were constantly having to look over our shoulder at the traffic being aware of our surroundings," says Madison Police Chief Gene Waldrop.  "We went to fluorescent jerseys they wear allows them to be seen 2-3 blocks ahead of time," Waldrop says when referring to his motorcycle patrol officers. 

Recent accidents involving first responders serve as a reminder to motorists of their responsibility, whenever they see flashing lights ahead, which means they should look out for people working in or near the road.

"They (motorists) certainly need to be more attentive but they also need to move over a lane and not stay on that lane of traffic when they see that emergency and we got somebody pulled over," said Waldrop. "(They should) Give us a lane of traffic just like state law tells them to do."

Speed and distractions can also become factors in wrecks involving first responders. Drivers are reminded to slow down, and be aware of their surroundings.

Jennifer Hesselbein the AMR paramedic is in critical condition at UMC. She suffered numerous broken bones and a serious eye injury. The man who was killed in that accident has been identified as 71-year-old Jessie Lee Thomas.

The cause of that wreck is under investigation.

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