My friend and fellow angler, Mike Vice, is in tough shape right now. It’s the kind of situation that makes you wonder why bad things happen to good people.
On the morning of January 26 of this year, he was working his job as a Vermillion County (Illinois) Sheriff’s Deputy. Mike was working a wreck on one of the interstate highways when a car failed to move over to get around his cruiser. The vehicle hit him at an estimated speed of 70 miles per hour.
After that morning he spent approximately a week in the hospital and another 10 weeks undergoing intense rehabilitation. As of right now, Mike’s at home doing the best he can to get back to normal. It has been, and will be, a long journey.
The pain in his left shoulder and his back is constant. And, he’s still unable to move his lower extremities. The doctors and therapists are hopeful, though. I know Mike so I’m hopeful, too. I know his toughness and his single-minded purpose to get better will serve him well. He will be back on the job and on the water.
A situation like this is a tragedy no matter who’s involved, but it’s especially so when you know the victim. Mike is a good guy. He bass fished with a passion and even competed in some B.A.S.S. sanctioned events. I honestly believe he had a future in this sport. I hope he still does when he gets through this thing.
I don’t really know what happened that morning other than the driver of the vehicle didn’t move over to get away from the emergency vehicles. Maybe it was distracted driving or maybe it was just a simple matter that they didn’t bother to move over. Either way, it’s a tragedy.
The law requires drivers to move over when they see an emergency vehicle. It’s called Scott’s Law. But it’s really just a matter of common sense.
We — Bassmaster Elite Series anglers and all the other people associated with all of our other tournaments — drive thousands of miles to fish our tournaments. We talk a lot about safety on the water. Everyone is reminded to pay attention to what’s going on around them and to always wear a PFD when the big motor is running.
That’s all well and good, but the truth of the matter is that the most dangerous part of fishing a tournament is getting there on public highways. It’s important that we all remember that. We need to move over when we see flashing lights no matter what kind of vehicle they’re on, and if we pull over we need to do our best to make sure our vehicle and rig are off the road and clearly visible.
I feel so strongly about this subject that I’m passing out #strengthformv stickers to all the Bassmaster Elite Series anglers. I hope they put them on their boats or on their tow vehicles, and I hope that they make a tweet in support of Mike. He’s one of the good guys.