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Editorial: A lesson in the death of Officer Yung

January 10, 2013 | Virginia News

A few days after the fiery motorcycle crash that killed Prince William police Officer Chris Yung, another officer en route to another emergency deftly weaved through traffic on Old Bridge Road, lights swirling and siren blaring.

At the intersection, the officer very deliberately stopped on the green light, looking both ways before continuing to whatever emergency required his attention.

It wasn’t by police department mandate.

“We’re all a little on edge,” said county police spokesman Jonathan Perok.

Last year, 127 law enforcement officers around the country were killed in the line of duty. Fifty of those died as the result of traffic incidents, two of them in Virginia, both the result of other drivers.

On Oct. 25, Virginia State Police Trooper Andrew Fox, wearing a reflective vest, was struck and killed by an SUV while he directed traffic at the Virginia State Fair in Hanover County.

Then there’s Officer Chris Yung, who died Dec. 31 when a minivan pulled out in front of his motorcycle on Va. 28 near Piper Lane in Prince William. Yung, 35, was responding to an emergency call with lights and siren at the time.

The good news, if there is any, is that fewer officers died on the nation’s roads last year, down 17 percent compared with 2011, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

But even one is too many. And this time, it was one of our own.

It’s easy to get distracted on the road, to barely pay attention as we hurriedly travel our daily routes.

The death of Officer Yung should shock us out of the daze of our daily grinds and force us to focus, to pay more attention, especially when we hear the wail of a siren.

We owe it to him, and to those he leaves behind.

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