The news late Friday that a Jeffersonville Police officer had been hit by a car while on duty had the community deeply concerned.
We have an abiding respect for the officers who put themselves on the line each and every day to keep residents safe. And our hope is they will be protected from harm while on duty.
Patrolman Shawn DeArk and another police officer were investigating a suspicious vehicle when the accident occurred. DeArk had just climbed down from attaching an abandoned vehicle sticker to the back windshield of a semi truck cab when he was hit.
Thankfully, the officer’s injuries were non-life threatening and he is expected to fully recover.
More good news centered on the driver whose vehicle struck DeArk. She had slowed her car on approach. She stopped after the accident occurred. She wasn’t impaired — and submitted to field and blood tests to confirm.
That’s not always the case. Sometimes aggravating circumstances complicate such incidents. Not this time.
In fact, drivers can take away a few good reminders here.
• When emergency lights come into view — any time of day, but especially when it’s nighttime and visibility is limited — slow down.
• Give police, fire, ambulance and other first responders a wide berth when passing.
• Don’t gawk. It’s hard not to, but keep your eyes on the road ahead.
• Have situational awareness. You never know when an emergency responder, a victim or a bystander might cross your path.
• Be patient when traffic flow is halted or rerouted. It’s a sure bet that what they are doing is more important than what you have going.
• These tenets bear repeating: Don’t drink and drive. Don’t drug and drive. Don’t drive distracted. Don’t drive drowsy. The rest of us are counting on you to make good decisions.
To officer DeArk, our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
— The News and Tribune Editorial Board members are Publisher Bill Hanson, Editor Susan Duncan, Assistant Editors Chris Morris and Jason Thomas, and Digital Editor Elizabeth DePompei.