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Local paramedic starts petition after co-worker hit, killed while responding to crash

PITTSBURGH — A local paramedic is on a personal mission after his friend and co-worker died while on the job.

Michael Bedner is asking people to sign an online petition (CLICK HERE) to raise awareness and increase protections for first responders when they’re called to scenes along roads.

Bedner’s friend, 43-year old Matt Smelser, was hit and killed while responding to a crash on Interstate 70 on Jan. 5.

“That could’ve easily been me. I have a family to go home to, waiting for me, just like my coworkers,” Bedner said. “The only way to bring about change is to unite and get our voices heard. That was the real purpose of this.”

>>PREVIOUS STORY: Hundreds of first responders attend funeral for local paramedic hit, killed responding to crash

Bedner wants to see more advanced warning at crash scenes to give drivers more time to react. He also wants lawmakers to expand their definition of “move over and slow down” and increase fines for people who speed through emergency scenes or work zones.

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