Spirit Ride set to pass through, stop in Picayune Friday

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 23, 2018

On Friday, local law enforcement officers, first responders and tow-truck drivers will participate in the national Spirit Ride in an attempt to draw attention to the move over law and honor the lives of responders and tow truck drivers who were killed or injured while working a vehicle collision.

The move over law requires motorists to move over or change lanes to provide ample space to emergency responders, road workers and tow-truck drivers.

Darren Champagne, owner of Walker’s Collision in Picayune is organizing the local event. The Spirit Ride is a nation wide effort to recognize fallen first responders who died while working accidents, Champagne said.

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As part of the effort to bring awareness to the problem, a ceremonial casket was created in June 2017 and has been taken to 140 cities by other participants of the effort.

By the end of 2018, the casket is expected to travel across 300 cities through processions that include 10,000 tow trucks, fire trucks, EMS and police vehicles, the Spirit Ride website states.

Champagne said this movement is important because about 100 first responders are killed annually while working rescue operations.

Out of that total, 60 are tow-truck drivers, Champagne said.

The procession for Friday’s ride will leave from Moss Towing in Waveland at 11 a.m., before stopping at Walker’s Collision in Picayune and heading to Crosby Commons, Champagne said.

A ceremony is scheduled to take place at Crosby Commons at 2 p.m. to honor fallen first responders, spread the word about the movement and recognize the families who have suffered loss of a loved one who died while working an accident.

Champagne said it is important for motorists know it is their responsibility to slow down and provide ample space for emergency personnel to work while they clear roadways after a collision.