accident

Police investigate the scene of an accident that killed a New York State Trooper on Interstate 290 in Tonawanda, N.Y. on Saturday, March 26, 2011. Trooper Kevin Dobson was struck and killed by a passing vehicle while making a traffic stop about 7:30 Saturday morning. (AP Photo/Larry Kensinger)

A state trooper was killed Saturday morning after he was hit by a motorist while writing a speeding ticket on the Youngmann Expressway just east of Colvin Boulevard.

Trooper Kevin Dobson, a 13-year veteran of the force, was hit by a 71-year-old man about 7:20 a.m. Saturday. He was taken by ambulance to Kenmore Mercy Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:10 a.m., state police said.

The accident comes just three months after the state enacted the “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to switch into the left lane when they see a law enforcement vehicle on the shoulder of a highway with its emergency lights activated.

Capt. Steve Nigrelli said troopers have issued 70 tickets to motorists for failing to abide by the new law. Troopers earlier this month were enforcing a speeding zone on Route 400 in the southtowns and had one officer specifically assigned to enforcing the Move Over law. That trooper wrote three tickets in less than 15 minutes to motorists who failed to comply.

The driver who struck Dobson on Saturday stopped and returned to the scene and is cooperating with the accident investigation, according to Deputy State Police Superintendent Thomas Fazio. The driver has not yet been charged.

“Everything is under investigation,” Fazio said, adding that the man who struck Dobson was remorseful about the accident.

Police say, however, it was not clear that the pickup driver had violated the new law, because he was entering the highway from a single-lane ramp.

Dobson, or “Dobber” to his friends and colleagues, has three children, ages 16, 15 and 4.

State police were shaken by the incident when speaking to the press.

“It’s tough, right?” Capt. Steve Nigrelli said. “We do this often. We talk about death, the people in our community and our loved ones and this is another time that the state police have taken a hit. And it’s close. Kevin was one of our guys.”

Nigrelli and Maj. Christopher Cummings described Dobson as a fun-loving person with a keen sense of humor.

“Dobber made us laugh,” Nigrelli said.

The “Move Over” law was passed after two law enforcers were killed in separate incidents last year while enacting a vehicle stop.

New York State Trooper Robert Ambrose was burned alive inside his vehicle after his patrol car burst into flames when it was rear-ended by an SUV driven by an intoxicated driver going more than 80 mph.

Onondaga County Sheriff’s deputy Glenn Searles died from injuries he suffered when assisting a stranded motorist.  A second car struck Searles, pinning him against his patrol vehicle.

Western New York has added a third person to that list.

Nigrelli acknowledged that being a state trooper on highway patrol can be a dangerous job under the best of circumstances, but implored drivers to be more cautious, lest a tragedy like the one that claimed Dobson happen again.

“Think of him the next time you see a red (emergency) light on the side of the road,” he said.

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