We’ve all been taught to use caution when we hear or see a police car or emergency vehicle with siren on and lights flashing. Drivers should pull over and stop in order to let the vehicle pass safely.
However, when a police car is chasing a suspect without its siren or overhead lights on, drivers may not have a chance to get out of the way. Two brothers from Englewood and Beavercreek Ohio say that a speeding Ohio State Highway Police car without any of these warning mechanisms in use struck them, causing serious injuries.
According to the lawsuit, the two men were traveling westbound on U.S. 35 in Beavercreek Township in the early morning hours of April 2, 2013 when the crash occurred. They say the brother who was driving was in the process of turning left when the patrol car going the other direction struck them leading to a car accident.
According to the lawsuit, the officer was driving more than 95 miles per hour. The crash report says his speed was 85 mph. The officer was reportedly chasing two speeding vehicles. The brother who was behind the wheel says he suffered spine and skull fractures as well as lacerations to his scalp. The other brother, according to the suit, suffered back and neck injuries along with a lacerated spleen. The officer was also injured.
That officer was back on the job by the end of the month. According to a spokesman for the highway patrol, he was given a verbal reprimand for the incident. The spokesman said that according to department policy, officers are not required to use emergency warning equipment while chasing suspects unless they feel it would be “prudent” based on traffic conditions.
It remains to be seen whether the Ohio State Highway Patrol continues to leave that decision up to their officers after this incident, which has been costly for them. They settled the case with the brothers for $235,000.
Drivers who are injured in accidents have the right to take civil action against the at-fault driver. If the driver is on the job at the time of the Ohio car accident, he or she may be able to seek damages from his or her employer as well. This is often the case with companies that own trucks that are involved in accidents. By holding employers of negligent or reckless drivers operating company vehicles accountable, plaintifffs can help provide an incentive for these employers to take steps to encourage safe driving.
Source: Source: CantonRep.com, “Ohio brothers get $235,000 in patrol crash lawsuit,” No author given, July 9, 2014