America’s favorite actress Reese Witherspoon is as much a danger to a Georgia State Trooper as anyone else when it comes to distracting him during a traffic stop as these videos of traffic stops turned deadly prove. So it is good that she is apologizing and acknowledging her very wrong behavior towards the officer the night she was arrested in Atlanta based upon this Friday CBS News report.
The trooper had asked Witherspoon to “stay in your vehicle, ma’am,” when he suspected and arrested her husband for driving while under the influence of alcohol that night of April 19. She didn’t do it.
The Georgia State Patrol trooper was just doing what all officers are trained to do throughout the country in order to avoid any danger to themselves (or the other vehicle’s occupants), since traffic fatalities or injuries can occur when someone is standing on the side of the road instead of being in their vehicle, like in this case.
Rain and bad drivers or night conditions can result in troopers or others being hit through no malicious intent at all, just due to the limited space on the side of the road on the interstate or some roadways, like happened to this trooper on a rainy day.
And if officers have not advised occupants of vehicles to stay in their cars, as the Atlanta officer did to Reese Witherspoon, then they could potentially be admonished for not having done so or held liable for resulting injuries or fatalities.
The city of Atlanta lost an officer in the past when another car hit her as she stood on the side of the road after pulling someone over on the roadway. Another Atlanta officer was hit while trying to assist someone broken down on the side of the road, so they know these are possibilities.
Officers also routinely face dangers from angry or armed people in the arrested person’s vehicle during traffic stops, which is yet another reason why it is mandatory that they insist other vehicle occupants stay put when so ordered.
This Associated Press released video on YouTube of an Arkansas officer being gunned down by such an occupant serves to prove that police have to take the hard line with anyone in a suspected DWI vehicle who exits without being told to.
Note to Reese Witherspoon and other Hollywood celebrities: Not every state patrol or local law enforcement officer knows (or cares) who you are or what you do for employment. They do, however, care about making sure they do their jobs properly so they get to go home to their families safely at the end of their work shifts. And if you want the roads safe for your families you will want them to care too.
© Radell Smith
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