Authorities search for hit-and-run vehicle

COVINGTON -- The Georgia State Patrol and the Henry County Police Department continue to search for the driver and vehicle that hit two people Monday night on Ga. Highway 138 near Ga. Highway 42 in Henry County. HCPD Officer Elgin Daniel passed away at Atlanta Medical Center from injuries sustained in the crash and John Cook was taken to Atlanta Medical with serious injuries after being hit by the vehicle while they were assisting a stranded motorist.

Authorities have narrowed the vehicle description to a 2000 - 2007 model year Ford F-350, standard cab, dual-wheel truck. The color is unknown. The vehicle is similar in style to the attached photograph and will have damage to the left side of the truck. It will also be missing the left side door mirror.

Anyone with information on the vehicle or the person who may have been driving at the time is asked to call the Henry County Police Department or the Georgia State Patrol.

The vehicle was last seen traveling east on Ga. Highway 138 toward Rockdale County.

Collision repair centers are also asked to keep watch for a vehicle matching the description that may be brought in for repairs.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety has weighed in on the matter as two other Atlanta-area police officers were hit by passing motorists in a four-day period. On Nov. 9, two Carrollton police officers were hit by a motorist while investigating a pedestrian crash scene.

"That's why the GOHS is strongly recommending that all Georgia motorists re-familiarize themelves with the state's Move Over Law," a press release states.

In effect since 2003, the Move Over Law requires drivers to move over one lane, if possible, whenever an emergency vehicle on the side of the road displays its lights. If traffic is too congested to move over safely, the law requires drivers to slow down below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop.

"I was so saddened to hear of Officer McDaniel's tragic death," said GOHS Director Harris Blackwood. "THe Move Over Law exists to protect emergency personnel in exactly these types of situations. The bottom line is that moving over of slowing down for emergency vehicles is the law. It's not a suggestion and disobeying it will cost you three points on your license and a fine up to $500."

Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety agreed.

"For the safety of everyone — first responders, other drivers, victims and towing personnel — drivers should remain alert while driving and move over when approaching a flashing emergency light," he said. "If you can't move over, then slow down well below the posted speed limit and be prepared for a sudden stop."