An officer who had been with the same police department for over 20 years died in a recent motor vehicle wreck alongside the road.

The police sergeant was working at the scene of another collision on a major urban thoroughfare when a vehicle struck him. While rescuers took him to the hospital immediately, he had died by the time he arrived there.

The officer had come to investigate the prior wreck, and incident which involved one of his subordinates. The prior wreck involved three vehicles, but there were no reports of physical injuries.

Another driver hit the sergeant as he emerged from his cruiser upon arriving at the scene of the first wreck.  This second wreck forced closure of the road while the Georgia State Patrol investigated.

Drivers need to slow down and give berth after an accident

Like other states, Georgia has a law that requires motorists to move over for emergency vehicles, including police cars, in order to give rescuers one extra lane of space.

When this cannot be done, a motorist at least has to slow down and proceed with caution.

This law aside, it is also a matter of safety and courtesy to give stranded motorists and rescuers plenty of room to maneuver while they do their work.

Too often, though, many drivers are traveling too fast for the conditions and so do not have time to respond to a stranded vehicle, a wreck or any other roadside emergency.

In other cases, a driver might be texting and driving, following another vehicle too closely or just not paying enough attention to the road. When drivers make these mistakes, tragedies like what happened to the officer in this case occur.

Victims of those negligent drivers who run over stranded motorists or roadside rescuers may have the right to pursue compensation for their losses.