When Vera Dedman heard the news that Officer Mike Petrina had been hit and killed on I-65, it was like an awful case of deja vu.
"It was Christy Dedman all over again," Dedman said. "That's the way it hit me. The time I lived when she got killed, it was just like living it all over again."
Her daughter, Metro Officer Christy Dedman, was killed while helping a driver almost 10 years ago. Vera Dedman knows firsthand what Petrina's family is going through.
"My heart goes out to them so bad," Vera Dedman said. "I'm so sorry that I can't be there for them."
The 25-year-old officer was killed on I-65 on Saturday morning while assisting a TDOT help truck with in another accident. A 71-year-old driver coming around the corner near the Old Hickory Boulevard/Brentwood exit told police he couldn't move over in time to avoid the officer and worker, who had two lanes blocked.
Police say the man instead tried to drive in between the police car and the TDOT truck in his large motor home. He sideswiped the TDOT truck and a trailer attached to his motor home hit Petrina, pinning him underneath. He died on the scene.
"I just broke down," said April Flagg, a friend of Petrina. "Stuff like that is not supposed to happen like that," she said.
Petrina's close friends who live in Memphis, where he is from, spoke out for the first time Sunday about the accident.
"If you see anyone on the side of the road, officers, a stranded motorist, anything, just move over," Flagg said.
The Dedman family has advocated for tougher fines in the move-over law since their daughter's death. It currently carries a fine of up to $500, which they say is not enough. "It tears me up when I think that you run over and you kill somebody, a police officer, and his life is worth $500?" Vera Dedman questioned.
"I live in Hickman County and I go on Highway 100," Vera Dedman says. "There's a sign down there that says if you're littering it's a $1,500 fine, but you run over somebody and don't move over, you hurt and kill them; they're not worth $1,500?" she asked.
"I just really pray for his family, his mom, his brother," Flagg said. "He really impacted a lot of people."
This week marked the beginning of National Police Week, sponsored by The Fraternal Order of Police. The annual officer memorial service will be held Wednesday at noon at First Baptist Church at 108 Seventh Ave. S. in Nashville.
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