Failing to Yield to Emergency Vehicles Has Its Consequences

By: Cierra Putman
NewsWest 9

ECTOR COUNTY - Police and deputy cars speeding to get to a scene looks exciting and cool in the movies, but in reality, it can be very dangerous.

Just this weekend, a deputy hit an SUV while responding to an emergency.

State troopers are now investigating the fatal crash to figure out who was at fault and authorities say many times people just don't pay attention when the sirens come on.

Near University and Westridge in West Odessa is where one man lost his life and three others including a sheriff's deputy were seriously injured.

"Whether it's an officer or a civilian, anytime there's a loss of life or hurt that severely, it hurts everyone here," Sgt. Gary Duesler with the Ector County Sheriff's Office, said. "Our job isn't to hurt anybody, we're out here to help somebody."

The crash happened while Ector County Sheriff's Deputy David Escudero was rushing to an emergency call.

Troopers say the driver of the SUV ran a stop sign even though Escudero's siren and lights were on.

"It happens quite a bit but the only time it becomes news of course is when an accident happens, but it happens a lot more frequently. Now more so than ever," Duesler said.

He says many drivers are distracted with texting, loud music and other things.

"You've got to keep your eyes on the road," Duesler said. "If an officer is coming at you at a high rate of speed and you're on your iPod, texting or whatever, he can be up on you right quick through an intersection and it's too late."

Anyone caught failing to yield to a deputy, police officer or any other emergency vehicle could be in a lot of trouble. You could face a $500 fine, and if someone's hurt or killed, the punishment is even higher.

"If you're at an intersection, the best thing you can do is just stay where you're at and let the emergency vehicle go around you," Duesler said. "If you're in the far right hand lane or you have room to pull over safely to the far right, that's what you need to do."

It may be a few seconds of inconvenience but Duesler says those seconds allow officers to safely do their job.