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DWI/Move Over enforcement begins Friday

WORTHINGTON -- Ten years ago, Minnesota State Trooper Ted Foss stopped a vehicle for speeding on I-90 near Lewiston and was speaking to the driver when a passing semi-truck drifted onto the shoulder of the road and struck Foss. He died at the scene.

That was the beginning of the Ted Foss "Move Over" law.

"When approaching and before passing an authorized emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated that is parked or otherwise stopped on or next to a street or highway having two lanes in the same direction, the driver of a vehicle shall safely move the vehicle to the lane farthest away from the emergency vehicle, if it is possible to do so," the law states.

The same law applies to fire fighting, road maintenance, construction or tow vehicles.

If there isn't an opportunity to move over due to traffic, authorities recommend drivers lower their speed significantly.

"Slow down 10 to 15 miles per hour," said Worthington Police Sgt. Bill Bolt. "And cover the brake so if you need to, you can stop."

Beginning Friday, the Minnesota Safe & Sober Labor Day DWI (Driving While Impaired) and "Move Over" mobilization will have extra peace officers out on the streets -- a total of 223 overtime hours in this region, which includes Jackson, Cottonwood, Lyon and Nobles Counties and several police departments. The mobilization lasts until Sept. 6.

Approximately $9,000 in grant money was invested into the mobilization in southwest Minnesota, according to Worthington Police Officer and Safe & Sober Officer Darin Vossen.

"This is the last wave in this grant year," Vossen stated. "The new one begins Oct. 1 with $42,000 for the year."

Each year in Minnesota, alcohol-related crashes account for more than one-third of the state's total traffic deaths. Last year, 141 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, an all-time low. In 2009, 32,576 motorists were arrested for DWI.

Vossen became a member of the 2010 Minnesota DWI Enforcer All-Stars this year after making more than 50 DWI arrests in 2009.

"It's based on the number of DWIs with consideration for the population of your jurisdiction," he explained.

As far as he is aware, he is the first member of the Worthington Police Department to be awarded the all-star status. He and his family were treated to a Minnesota Twins game at Target Field, where his name appeared on the jumbotron.

"We were shuffled out onto the field, and when our name was called we stepped forward and raised our hat," Vossen explained.

Former Worthington Police Officer Danny Bouavichith, who left the area to go to work for a different department several years ago, was also named to the all-star team.

"I had 51 DWI arrests, he had 53," Vossen explained.

Vossen enjoyed bringing his family to the July 1 Twins game against Tampa Bay, which unfortunately Minnesota lost "due to a horrible call," Vossen said.