A bad thing happened to a family friend over the weekend. Massachusetts State Trooper Josh Pacheco, 32, of the Dartmouth Barracks, was injured on I-195 in Dartmouth on Friday around 1:40 a.m., while trying to block off the left lane following a separate car crash. Law enforcement faces so many dangers of working accident scenes.

Trooper Pacheco could have been killed when he was rear-ended by a 22-year-old female. Both were taken to Rhode Island Hospital and, thanks be to God, both had non-life-threatening injuries, though the thought that their fate could have been much worst haunts me.

I want you to imagine Josh as your own son, brother or family member. He was New Bedford High graduate who married his high school sweetheart, and to this day celebrate their love with their daughter. Josh has also had a few other loves, like flying helicopters, this country and protecting everyday folks like you and me.

He served a tour in Iraq flying a helicopter, and he survived the dangers of armed combat to come home to nearly losing his life on the dangerous roadways here as a State Trooper.

Traffic stops and accidents are routine for troopers on the job, but they're also one of the daily dangers police face every time they put on a uniform. Every accident is different because you don't know who or what you're dealing with.

State law requires drivers to move into the other lane when an emergency vehicle is stopped with its lights flashing. As in this case, sometimes one accident turns into multiple accidents because motorists aren't paying attention.

There are so many distractions now like cell phones, GPS devices, eating or just playing with the radio dial that all pose a significant risk to troopers that are out on the scene of an accident. I want to urge you to obey the Move Over Law. When you see an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing, shift over a lane. If you can't move over, then slow down so everyone will go home safe.

We honor and thank Trooper Pacheco and all our law enforcement for what they do to protect us. Let's work to protect them, as well.

Phil Paleologos is the host of the Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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