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Officers' failure to follow procedure can lead to car accidents

All on-duty law enforcement officials here in Connecticut and across the country are required to obey the traffic laws, just as any other driver on the road. Of course, under certain circumstances, they are allowed to circumvent those laws, but only after adhering to policies and procedures set forth by each department. If those rules are not followed, officers can be responsible for causing car accidents.

Recently, an officer in one city was responding to a call regarding an accident involving a pedestrian. As she drove to the scene, she turned on her lights and sirens. When she reached an intersection, her SUV patrol vehicle slammed headlong into the passenger side of a car.

The 25-year-old driver of the car struck by the Bloomfield Police Department's SUV suffered severe injuries, and he was taken to the hospital in critical condition. At last report, he was in fair condition. The 24-year-old officer suffered only minor injuries.

There is a question as to whether the officer followed the law -- along with police procedures -- by slowing before entering the intersection. The fact that the lights and sirens were activated on the SUV does not excuse her from slowing and even stopping if necessary in order to avoid causing a car accident. The police department is conducting its own investigation to determine whether she violated policy.

The Connecticut State Police is conducting the official accident investigation. The injured driver will most likely be interested in the outcome of that investigation since he retains the right to file a personal injury claim against the officer and the department. Establishing negligence on the part of the officer could result in an award of damages often awarded in car accidents.

Source: courant.com, "Driver In Critical Condition After Collision With Bloomfield Police Car", Christine Dempsey and Ronald DeRosa, April 1, 2016

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