West Monroe (WSYR-TV) – An Oswego County tow truck operator says he’s lucky to be alive after being struck in a hit-and-run accident on I-81 over the weekend. Now, he's using his story to remind people about the Move Over Law in New York State.
Dorwyn Lyboult was just doing his job, responding to a stranded motorist on I-81 when he was hit by a tractor trailer.
“I’ve had to jump out of the way of other vehicles to go, but the way I was standing, there was just no place to go,” Lyboult said.
Lyboult said it seemed like the driver was trying to get it as close as he could.
“I had myself leaned against the truck, trying to give myself as much clearance as I could, about halfway when the trailer passed me, I felt the tugging,” Lyboult said. “They said I was on the very last layer of tissue before there would have been nothing for them to do for me.”
The tugging was the truck ripping into his stomach.
With a lot of healing left to go, Lyboult is urging drivers to help. “The law does exist, that they're supposed to give us some room,” he said.
Lyboult’s father also drives a tow truck, and he was one of the first people on the scene. “It’s just still too dangerous out there. People are still too ignorant on vehicles on the side of the road,” Brad Lyboult said.
In New York, drivers are legally obligated to slow down and - whenever possible - change lanes at the sight of a car on the side of the road – whether it’s police, emergency personnel, or tow-truck operators.
“They're worried about doing their job. They shouldn't have to worry about somebody coming up behind them who's not paying attention and running into them,” said State Police Troop D Public Information Officer Jack Keller. “Whether you’re issuing a ticket or you’re assisting a motorist and somebody's passing you at 65, 75, 80 miles per hour. I don't know many officers who haven't run into the problem where it feels like they're brushing up against your leg.”
The law was passed after the deaths of two police officers. Lyboult realizes how close he came.
“We're there to help other people, make them feel safe,” Lyboult said. “Which is hard to do when we can’t feel safe ourselves.”
The driver of the blue and white tractor trailer didn’t stop and police couldn’t ticket him.
If you are caught violating the Move Over law, you face a $275 fine and three points on your license.