Mo. Highway Patrol holds ‘Move Over’ operation to inform drivers of law and safety concerns

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Missouri Highway Patrol troopers are honoring a fallen colleague while also trying to keep a busy highway safe.

“Not a day goes by that we don`t think of Mike, and the sacrifice that he made out here,” said MSHP Sergeant Brooks McGinnis.

It was just before seven in the morning, 14 years ago on Monday, that 25-year-old Trooper Michael Newton was killed in a traffic crash. He stopped a vehicle on Interstate 70 near mile-marker 47 in Lafayette County, east of the metro, where a cross still sits to this day.

“When I saw his car, I realized there`s no way he would have lived through that,” Sgt. McGinnis said.

While Trooper Newton and Michael Nolte of Leawood were sitting in his patrol car, the driver of a pickup hit the car, causing it to burst into flames.

The force of the impact pushed the patrol car into the other vehicle. Witnesses at the scene pulled Nolte and tried to pull Trooper Newton from the fiery car.
Nolte was seriously injured, Trooper Newton died at the scene.

“I carry a pin between my passenger seat and my driver`s seat with Mike`s picture with his end of watch date on there, and explain that a good buddy of mine was killed because somebody failed to abide by the law,” added Sgt. McGinnis.

In 2006 the Missouri "Move Over Law" penalty was increased to a Class A misdemeanor. Six years later, lawmakers expanded the law to include Missouri Department of Transportation workers.

“We take it very personally, we`ve had friends killed doing this job, just because of someone`s negligence,” Sgt. McGinnis said.

On Monday, the highway patrol held a "Move Over" operation in Lafayette County to educate public on the law.

“It`s one of the most dangerous things we do, standing on the side of the interstate for a traffic stop, or a crash, and there are countless officers and troopers killed worldwide by people not paying attention or moving over,” said Trooper Trent Baxter.

Trooper Newton is survived by his wife and two sons. The driver of the flatbed truck that struck Trooper Newton`s patrol car was arrested and charged. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to six-months in prison and two years’ probation.