KENTON COUNTY, KY (FOX19) - On Wednesday, Kenton County Sheriff Deputy Brett Tate returned to work for the first time since a roadside accident landed him in a hospital bed.
Tate pulled a speeding car over in a construction zone Sept. 30 and had just taken the driver’s license and registration back to his cruiser when trouble hit -- hard.
“I shut the door and actually went to start the citation and the next thing I know I’m in the wood line,” he said. “I had been struck and my car had been knocked off the expressway and into the woods.”
The crash took place just 45 days before Tate’s retirement.
He said he had climbed back into his car about 15 seconds before the collision. According to a traffic report taken by Fort Mitchell, three vehicles got in an accident behind the deputy’s cruiser and the crash carried into the sheriff’s office SUV. Tate’s car, which was in park at the time, was pushed 40 or 50 feet off the side of I-75 and into the tree line.
“Especially with first responders, tow trucks, police officers, fire equipment -- people need to slow down,” Tate said. “They need to try to give you the lane, at least some cushion, some kind of buffer.”
Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana all have laws requiring vehicles to move over or slow down for first responders and roadside aid vehicles.
“It does surprise me that there haven’t been a lot more people hurt or killed and it’s a definite reminder every time you go to stop somebody on the expressway,” Tate said. “You really have to be careful and hope to god that they’re being careful also.”
Tate was taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center for a head injury after the crash and still reports being sore and requiring on-going treatment. The law enforcement veteran of three decades returned to duty on Wednesday. Four others were treated for minor injuries as a result of the crash and five vehicles were damaged in the wreck.
The damage to the Kenton County Sheriff’s Cruiser is estimated to be more than $20,000.