Highway Trooper Killed in Traffic Accident - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

03/15/07 - East Texas

Highway Trooper Killed in Traffic Accident

by Ramonica R. Jones

A state highway trooper is dead after being killed in a crash just north of Marshall. Twenty-nine year-old Todd Holmes was in pursuit of a vehicle when he was broadsided by an 18-wheeler.

The wreck happened Wednesday night after Holmes tried to cross the highway to go after a motorist, but turned into the path of a big rig. No one else was hurt in the crash.

Holmes had a wife and three young children. He'd been a state trooper for just two years. He was the 82nd DPS trooper to die in the line of duty.

Highway troopers, police officers, and sheriff's deputies all spend a lot of time driving, and that can sometimes put them in dangerous situations.

Do you know how to react when you see those flashing red lights in your rear view mirror? Many East Texans do.

Lufkin resident Keturah Clauzel said, "Anytime you see one of the law enforcement vehicles coming, you pull over into the lane that is free. If it's only one lane, you pull over to the shoulder and you stop or slow down so they can get through."

Angelina County resident Shelly Pitre said, "Slow up and get over to the left-hand lane unless they're behind you and if you can't, then you just accommodate the ambulance as you can. At least that's what I do."

In towns like Diboll, police officers stay busy on patrol, looking for speeders and other traffic violators. Officer Rodney Cheshire has been noticing more motorists obeying the law when they see a squad car in pursuit of a driver or already have a vehicle pulled over.

"By law, you have to move to the inside lane," said Cheshire. "If it is not an inside lane provided, then you need to slow your speed to 20 miles per hour."

Authorities in pursuit realize you can't always yield or pull over in high-traffic areas.

"If they are moving after someone, move to the right side of the road and if it's not safe for you to move to the right side of the road when they're directly behind you, do put your blinker on so that they don't try to go around you," Cheshire said.

Not yielding to emergency vehicles or law enforcement agents is a misdemeanor that can get you ticketed and fined.

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