BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It only takes a few moments for lives to change forever. Unfortunately, that was the case for Cpl. Shane Totty and his family. Totty died in a crash while escorting a funeral procession.
“We want to remind people not to cut through a procession, not to jump into a procession,” said Sgt. Don Coppola with the Baton Rouge Police Department. Coppola says it’s easy to sometimes become distracted on the road, but cautions drivers to stay focused, or they could face a penalty.
“There is a city court ordinance that you could be cited for this and that’s really the main thing we want people to know,” said Coppola.
According to Baton Rouge City Ordinance 11:270 , it’s illegal for a driver to enter between vehicles in a funeral or other authorized procession while they are in motion. However, staying aware while driving can help. The law also requires all vehicles in a procession to use caution lights while in motion. If the procession is led by motor officers, they will also display flashing lights and use sirens.
“We encourage everyone to stay as safe as they can, but as close as they can to the car in front of them, not to allow gaps in the funeral procession,” said Gerald Mussachia, general manager for Rabenhorst Funeral Home. Rabenhorst was not in charge of the funeral Officer Totty was escorting, but says officer safety is one of their biggest concerns.
“We just wish people would take that two minutes and let the procession go by and then continue with their journey,” said Mussachia.
Mussachia encourages drivers both in and out of the procession adhere to safety guidelines so that everyone on the road is safe.
The crash involving Cpl. Totty is currently under investigation by the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.