Members of the North Coast Emergency Services team in Cleveland have been left stunned and deeply saddened by the roadside death of Mentor Police Officer Mathew Mazany.
Police report Mazany was struck and killed along Route 2, during an early morning traffic stop on June 24, after police said he was allegedly hit by a vehicle driven by 24-year-old Brian Anthony.
North Coast co-owner John Leonello said he has been on the scene with Mazany during several roadside emergencies over the past few years. Leonello's company provides roadside assistance to drivers and helps to back up police officers and other emergency crews while on the scene of accidents and traffic stops.
Leonello said that, sadly, his team has witnessed dozens of drivers not obeying Ohio's "Move Over" law every week. A law enacted in 2009, and expanded in 2013, it requires drivers to move to a lane further away from a traffic stop or slow down significantly when the driver can't change lanes.
Leonello believes more awareness of the law in the form of a public service campaign is needed, and it needs to be taught more consistently in drivers education classes.
"Private driving schools, and schools have to get the word out," said Leonello. "Without any mandate of any kind in the curriculum to teach it, they are not teaching it, so kids don’t know about it."
North Coast co-owner Chris Haire agrees more awareness is needed and said distracted driving is another major cause of roadside fatalities.
"A lot of people are distracted, it goes back to that. They’re all distracted with their cell phones, texting, reading, emails, eating," Haire said. "We can’t keep losing police officers and state highway patrol officers because people don’t know the law."