Columbia, SC — I was traveling through the construction area on I-20 recently when the traffic suddenly stopped. After waiting several minutes, I drove down a ravine onto another stretch of highway to check on an accident and offer assistance.
When I got out of my patrol car, I was greeted with a barrage of honking horns and drivers yelling at me to move. It was only then that I realized that several drivers had followed me down the ravine in an attempt to avoid the wait in the other lane. I couldn’t even get to the victims before drivers got out of their vehicles, ran up to me and asked me to move.
I asked several of them to please let me deal with this accident and they could be on their way. One driver suggested that I pull my patrol car close to the concrete barrier so he could squeeze his truck through, which would have made it impossible for me to get in and out of the car safely. Another driver asked me to leave the accident scene and drive back against traffic as a “favor” to her because she had to get to MUSC where someone was dying. These were drivers who followed me. If they had stayed where they were supposed to be instead of following me, they would have been waiting anyway.
Thankfully the accident was not serious, and I got the drivers to move their vehicles a mile away to stand by for the Highway Patrol. But what would have taken less than five minutes to clear up took 10-15 minutes due to inconsiderate drivers.
Not one asked if he or she could help. Not one asked if everyone was OK. The lady trying to get to MUSC, who gave me the impression that she was a doctor or nurse, didn’t offer any assistance to the victims. There was no consideration for my safety.
What if theses drivers were in an accident? What if those were their family members in the accident? Would they want me to drive by and leave them there? Not only is it my duty as a law enforcement officer to offer assistance; it is my duty as a human to help others. It is disheartening to know that there are so many people who have no consideration for others.