Haley Renee Ferrell, 32
ROGERSVILLE — A Rogersville woman learned the hard way Wednesday that you’re supposed to yield to the right when an emergency vehicle with flashing lights and siren comes up behind you.
Shortly after midnight Wednesday morning Haley Renee Ferrell allegedly refused to move out of the left lane on Highway 11-W when HCSO Sgt. Keith Long came up behind her en route to a complaint of a burglary in progress.
Long was then called off the emergency response and conducted a traffic stop on Ferrell, 32, 200 Arrowhead Driver Apt. C-27, Rogersville. She was charged with failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, as well as DUI.
Tennessee Code Annotated 55-8-132 states: “The driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection, and shall stop and remain in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.”
HCSO Chief Deputy Tony Allen told the Times-News Thursday the reason for that law is to ensure that civilian motorists have better view of the emergency vehicles when they pass.
“Emergency vehicles are required to pass to the left and not to the right because you’re passing on the (civilian) driver’s side and they’re able to see you better,” Allen said. “In this instance (involving Sgt. Long) the driver wouldn’t move out of the left lane, and even though there was no traffic in the right lane, she was holding up the officer because he is not supposed pass her to the right.”
Long was initially dispatched as backup to a burglary in progress complaint outside of his sector, and was headed east on Highway 11-W when he encountered Ferrell.
He stated in his report that after he got behind the vehicle driven by Ferrell, she continued on for about a half mile in the left lane with Long behind her running emergency lights and siren.
The vehicle then pulled to the left side of the road toward the median, but didn’t stop. At that time Long heard a radio dispatch that the burglary had actually happened 15 minutes earlier, at which time he ended his emergency response.
That’s when the vehicle driven by Ferrell moved back into the left lane and continued east.
Long then activated his blue lights and attempted to stop the vehicle driven by Ferrell, but she continued on a short distance, turning onto Stanley Valley Road. She then turned onto Stewart Drive and continued on for about 100 yards before stopping.
Long stated in his report that Ferrell had an odor of alcohol about her.
After allegedly failing to perform a field sobriety test properly Ferrell submitted to a breathalyzer test which indicated a blood alcohol level of .15 percent.
“Ms. Ferrell was asked why she had failed to yield to the blue light and siren previously, with her responding that she thought I was trying to pull someone else over,” Long said. “No other vehicles were on the road at that time."