BAY MINETTE, Ala. (WKRG) – A Bay Minette police cruiser is out of commission, sitting in a most likely totaled auto repair shop, after an accident this week while an officer was on duty in a construction zone. It’s a story we first reported on Monday afternoon. Now Chief Al Tolbert is warning drivers to stay alert.
“A distracted rear driver terminated a patrol car while it was standing there. The patrol car was there as an additional warning with its blue lights on,” Chief Al Tolbert said.
He thankfully says no one was injured, but he warns drivers to be careful and reminds everyone of Alabama’s move on the law.
“There is a law in place that could prevent this. Not only does it cover law enforcement, but it encompasses utility workers, tow truck drivers, the telephone company, or whoever may be on the right-of-way,” he said.
As for the cruiser, Chief Tolbert says the COVID-19 pandemic has made it more difficult to purchase vehicles and find available parts. This is something that departments have fought for months.
“We will consider a year to replace this vehicle if we have to. This puts a strain on our fleet. We have a small fleet of vehicles,” he added.
As he prepares to face this hurdle, Chief Tolbert sends a message to drivers as construction continues. Crews are expected to be on Highway 31 for the next few weeks.
“Be safe, be careful, be respectful and pay attention to workers and law enforcement in the area. It’s a dangerous environment here for these guys and women who work in these construction areas and it’s also dangerous for law enforcement in these areas to stop cars or work on an accident or help in these types of situations,” Tolbert said.