An Omaha Public Power District employee was critically injured on Oct. 22 after his bucket truck was hit by an SUV and he fell from 35 feet above the ground, according to multiple local news sources and the utility.
Police said the SUV slammed into the truck that was stopped in the right lane of Sorensen Parkway with its warning lights on.
Robert Paskevic, 54, was taken to Nebraska Medical Center with a leg injury and a cut on his head, as reported by Omaha.com. According to police, the driver, Travis J. Hall, 27, was pinned in his pickup for about 20 minutes until he was freed by firefighters. He suffered injuries to his head and arm.
Officials said Paskevic was wearing a harness, but it fell off, according to KETV Omaha. The investigation is ongoing, but alcohol use on the part of the driver is believed to be a factor in the collision.
According to Nebraska’s current “Move Over” law, “Any driver in a vehicle on a controlled access highway approaching a stopped emergency or road assistance vehicle with flashing lights must vacate the lane closest to stopped vehicle. If driver is unable to safely vacate lane closest to stopped vehicle, the driver must reduce speed and maintain a safe speed and distance while passing.” This law does not currently apply to utility vehicles.
While all 50 states have enacted a “Move Over” law, not all include a provision for utility vehicles. The law in Tennessee, for example, was amended in 2011 to protect them, and Massachusetts has been recently trying to get them included under the law as well.
The OPPD released a statement on Facebook regarding the accident that said:
“Robert Paskevic, a streetlight worker who has been with Omaha Public Power District for 11 years, was injured during an overnight accident involving a bucket truck. Members of the OPPD family, including leadership, have been at the hospital to support Bob and his family. Whenever there is an injury accident, a safety investigation is standard protocol. An investigation into this incident is currently underway. Safety is a top priority for OPPD – for employees, as well as for our customers.”