JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Florida Highway Patrol trooper and another driver were hospitalized with serious injuries after a crash on I-95 Sunday night, but the trooper was released and is recovering at home.
Trooper Ahkem Jordan was assisting with a lane closure on the interstate on Jacksonville’s Northside just after 9 p.m. when a Chevy Silverado slammed into the back of his cruiser. According to the FHP report, the driver of the pickup, Aaron Klausman, 31, of Wellington, Florida, failed to see the trooper’s car or the lane closure.
The report said charges are pending.
All northbound lanes of the highway were shut down while responders worked to clear the crash, and traffic was redirected at the Golfair Boulevard exit.
News4Jax’s Vic Micolucci did a ride-along with Jordan in 2017 focused on ticketing aggressive rivers. At that time, Jordan said careless drivers cause about 80% of crashes he works.
‘Move Over’ reminder
The startling photos of Jordan’s demolished patrol vehicle are a harrowing reminder that Florida drivers must move over to put a lane between their vehicle and any law enforcement, emergency or service vehicle stopped on the road. The law in Florida says if a driver cannot move over, they must slow to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit.
According to the Department of Transportation, 39% of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the last decade died in traffic-related incidents.
If you’ve ever broken down or had a flat tire on the side of a busy road, you know how dangerous and unnerving it can be. Law enforcement face this peril every day in the line of duty.
“It’s actually even more dangerous for officers because of all the distractions that drivers have these days," News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said. “You know they’ve got these phones. They are constantly on their phones -- can’t live without them -- texting and driving. They are having a conversation and not paying attention."
Catherine Sutton, CEO of the Northeast Florida Safety Council, said every driver has a part to play in keeping first responders safe.
"They put their lives at risk every single day. The most important that we can do is be considerate of them and pay attention to them,” Sutton said. “For those who are out there serving, please pay attention to them. Think about the fact that they need to go home to their families safely too.”
Jefferson said there’s really not anything more Jordan could have done to prevent the crash.
“He’s there. He’s got his lights on, and highly illuminating everything," Jefferson said. “Generally speaking when people see blue lights, they know that it’s the police, it’s law enforcement. They typically are going to slow down and pay close attention.”
In addition to emergency vehicles, the Move-Over Law applies to utility service vehicles, tow trucks and even sanitation vehicles. Violations can result in a fine, fees and points on your driving record.