Trooper Michael L. Newton was killed in a traffic crash at 6:59 a.m. on May 22, 2003. Tpr. Newton had stopped a vehicle on eastbound Interstate 70 near the 47-mile marker in Lafayette County. While Tpr. Newton and the person he had stopped were sitting in his patrol car, they were struck by a pickup pulling a flatbed trailer. The force of the impact pushed the patrol car into the other vehicle. The person in the vehicle with Tpr. Newton was pulled from the patrol car by witnesses at the scene. The man sustained serious injuries in the crash. Tpr. Newton died at the scene.
Trooper Michael L. Newton, 25, was the 23rd member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol to lose his life in the line of duty. He was survived by his wife and two young sons.
Since this tragic crash occurred, the person Tpr. Newton was talking with at the time of the crash has become an advocate for traffic safety. He has made appearances throughout Missouri asking people to “move over or slow down” when they approach and emergency vehicle with their lights activated.
The driver of the flatbed truck that struck Tpr. Newton’s patrol car was arrested and charged with: 1) failure to yield to an emergency motor vehicle (class C misdemeanor); 2) failure to operate vehicle in a single lane (class A misdemeanor); 3) no valid commercial vehicle driver’s license (class A misdemeanor); and 4) careless and imprudent driving (class A misdemeanor). He pleaded guilty and was sentenced on each of the four counts. For the first count, he was sentenced to 15 days in jail and a $300 fine. On the second count, he was sentenced to six months in the county jail and a $500 fine. Regarding the third count, he was sentenced to six months in the county jail and a $500 fine. An execution of sentence suspended was applied and he was given two years probation. On the fourth charge, he was sentenced to six months in jail and fined $500. The sentences for counts one, two, and four ran concurrently.
The Missouri “Move Over Law” was signed into law in August 2002 as a class C misdemeanor. In 2006, the penalty was increased to a class A misdemeanor. At the same time, the crimes of involuntary manslaughter and second degree assault were modified to include violations of the “Move Over Law,” which cause death or physical injury to an emergency vehicle operator through an act involving negligence. In 2012, the Move Over law expanded to include MoDOT workers.