His Final Call

By Danielle Marten
     Move over – it’s Kansas law.  We have all heard this message through public service announcements and we recognize it to mean we should slow down and move over for flashing lights.  The purpose of this law is to give police and other emergency personnel enough room to work while they are on the side of the road.  What happens when someone doesn’t move over and slow down?  Unfortunately, my family knows this answer too well.

This four-minute video was created for a traffic safety event this spring - go to http://goo.gl/wqb7Ta  (then under Available Podcasts, click on His Final Call - Danielle Marten's Story) - or you can read below to see how my family suffered and the lasting impact when a driver chose to not “move over” on a cold winter night, three decades ago. 

     In January of 1982, my parents were celebrating the happiest time of their lives.  After years of trying to have a child, my mother was 5 months pregnant with me.  My father, a Wichita Police Officer, had put in for a shift transfer from the midnight shift to the day shift in order to spend more time with his wife and soon-to-be first child.  His request had been granted and he was just days away from the transfer when he got a call one evening to respond to a disturbance at a local bar.  Little did my father know this call would be his final call.
     As my father arrived at the bar, a vehicle quickly backed into the street from the bar parking lot and he stopped the vehicle to question the occupants and/or make an arrest.  Another vehicle, traveling at a high rate of speed, struck my father as he was standing on the side of the road.  He was killed instantly.  The happiest time of my parent’s lives quickly turned into the most tragic time of my mother’s life. 
     The fact that one vehicle did not slow down or pull over for those flashing lights has had a lifelong impact on my family.  My mother raised a child on her own, I didn’t get the chance to know my father and my father was robbed of his dream of parenthood.
     Please, move over when you see flashing lights on the side of the road.  Slow down and keep your eyes on the road as well.  Your vehicle tends to drift in the direction you are looking so please do not gawk at the scene.  Please remember that police and other emergency personnel that are working on the side of the road have families that would like them to return home safe.  Please make a conscience decision to protect those who are out day and night protecting you.

Danielle Marten is a Traffic Safety Consultant with the Kansas Department of Transportation


  1. Anonymous10/08/2013

    What a devastating loss for you, your Mom, your other family members and friends. Your story shows how so many people can be affected by one decision. I'm so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Anonymous10/08/2013

    What a beautiful way of honoring your father's memory by sending a message in hopes of saving a life. Thank you for your courage to share something so very personal. While I am a law abiding citizen, and make certain to always move over, I will be sharing this heartfelt story with my 17 year-old daughter who will be driving on a regular basis very soon....again thank you for taking the opportunity to save a life....