Nearly four years ago, my family's life changed drastically when my husband, Illinois State Trooper Douglas Balder, was struck in his squad car and burned alive on Interstate 88 by a semi driver who failed to obey Scott's Law. Tollway worker, Vincent Petrella, was killed in that same crash. That night, I was plucked from my normal life and have since spent that time helping my husband to recover from horrific burns. He survived, but the past four years have been filled with multiple surgeries, recoveries, indescribable pain and hundreds of hours of physical therapy.
I have gotten to know members of the Deatherage, Sauter, Petrella and Gillen families. They have each tragically lost their loved one due to someone not moving over. I have also worked with the organization Move Over Illinois to encourage others to move over for any vehicle with flashing lights. A new safety campaign called Give Them Distance reminds us all of the vital importance of Scott's Law, which was recently expanded in Illinois to require passing drivers to slow down and change lanes safely when approaching ANY vehicle with its hazard lights on.
December 23 is Scott's Law Remembrance Day. As many of us prepare to celebrate Christmas with family, let's not forget that this important law is named after Lt. Scott Gillen, a Chicago firefighter who was killed just two days before Christmas 17 years ago, leaving a wife and five daughters behind … all because a driver failed to Move Over.
I plead with you to obey this law. If you were on the side of the road with your family with a flat tire, I am confident you would want the same courtesy extended to you and your family. Visit GiveThemDistance.com to learn how you can make our roads safer.