First responder deaths highlight poor driving in icy conditions - FOX34 Lubbock

First responder deaths highlight poor driving in icy conditions

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 For the first time ever in Lubbock, a police officer and a firefighter have died on the same day. State Trooper Johnny Bures said there are some laws in place you need to remember when you see first responders protecting and serving on the side of the road.

"You're sharing the road with a lot of folks out there, we want everyone to make it and make it safely," Lubbock Police Department Chief Floyd Mitchell said.

The "Move Over, Slow Down" law is an effort to prevent incidents like this.

"It lets first responders that are working right there, maybe investigating a crash or something like that, that they have a little more space, that they can move around, that they're not so close to the traffic zooming by," State Trooper Bures said.

Just slowing down a few miles per hour can be the difference between your life and people around you.

"While the speed limit doesn't change in icy conditions, we hope that folks remember to drive a little more cautiously when there is inclement weather present," Bures said.

In recent history, two firefighters died of cancer. They were considered active duty deaths because it was related to the hazard of firefighter. The last time there was a traumatic death was 1979. Three crew members were killed in a fire. It was been 19 years since a police officer has died on duty. Officer Nicholas Reyna is the seventh line of duty death in department history.

"The people who put on this badge, the people who put on that badge, they give their life to their communities," Chief Mitchell said.

In the wake of their sacrifice, city leaders are backing the badge.

"It's a time to come together and support the family that's left, and the rest of the fire department and to learn from what's happened," Lubbock Fire Rescue Chief Shaun Fogerson said.

"Dad, mom, kiddos aren't coming home, those hit close to home, those are hard to do," State Trooper Bures said.

Both departments have lowered their flags to half staff and Lubbock County Judge Curtis Parrish has asked all flags to be lowered for the week. 

The Lubbock Professional Police Association has started a fundraiser in the victims' honor. Click here to support these families.

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