BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WKRG) – A Bay Minette police cruiser is out of service, sitting at an auto repair shop most likely totaled, after an accident this week while an officer was on duty in a construction zone. It’s a story we first reported Monday afternoon. Now, Chief Al Tolbert is warning drivers to stay alert.
“A distracted driver rear ended a patrol car while it was sitting still there. The patrol car was there as an extra warning with its blue lights on,” said Chief Al Tolbert.
He says luckily no one was injured, but he’s warning drivers to pay attention and reminding everyone of Alabama’s move over law.
“There’s a law in place that could prevent this. Not only does it cover law enforcement and it encompasses utility workers, tow truck drivers, the phone company or whoever may be on the right of way,” he said.
As for the cruiser, Chief Tolbert says the COVID-19 pandemic has made it tougher to purchase vehicles and find available parts. It’s something departments have battled for months.
“We will be looking at a year to replace this vehicle if we have to do that. That puts a strain on our fleet. We have a small fleet of vehicles,” he added.
While he prepares to face that obstacle Chief Tolbert is sending a message to drivers as construction continues. Crews are expected to be on Highway 31 for the next couple of weeks.
“Be safe, be cautious, be respectful and look out for the workers and the law enforcement in the area. It’s a dangerous environment out here for these guys and ladies that’s working in these construction zones and it’s also dangerous for law enforcement in these areas stopping cars or working an accident or assisting in these type situations,” Tolbert said.