Local News

Lumberton police officer's widow wants to stiffen penalties for violating NC 'move over' law

Posted February 22, 2019 5:53 p.m. EST
Updated February 22, 2019 5:55 p.m. EST

— Leah Quick has been on a mission ever since her husband, Lumberton Police Officer Jason Quick, died while responding to a traffic call during the early morning hours on Interstate 95.

The officer was struck and killed by a passing vehicle as he tried to walk across the highway on Dec. 15 while responding shortly after 6 a.m. to a multi-vehicle crash.

Dozens of his colleagues, family and friends gathered to say their final respects to him when he was laid to rest a few days later.

"During this grieving process, I thought . . . how can I honor my husband?" she said.

Leah Quick on Tuesday addressed a Senate committee that was considering legislation that would raise the seriousness of crimes for people who violate the state's "move over" law. The measure now goes to another panel after the Senate committee approved it.

The proposal would increase a basic violation from a traffic infraction to a misdemeanor. Violations causing serious injury or death of an officer would result in a more severe felony than currently required.

Quick says she thought about all the law enforcement officers and first responders who are still in harm's way while performing their duties on North Carolina roads and highways.

There are countless videos showing officers nearly being hit by drivers who are not paying attention to the road or are intoxicated.

"Though there's nothing we can do for Jason, we can help protect our law enforcement (and) our first responders," Leah Quick said.

The law requires drivers to move over one lane, if possible, or slow down when approaching an officer who is displaying flashing blue lights or other first responders on the scene of a crash.

If the bill is signed into law, it will be known as the Officer Jason Quick Act.

"By bringing awareness to this law, now people are starting to see that this is happening too much," Leah Quick said.