A young bicyclist was struck by a chief’s police cruiser in a recent Davie auto accident, just yards away from the city’s police headquarters. According to accident reports, Police Chief Patrick Lynn was driving his unmarked car when he failed to yield the right-of-way of the young cyclist and slammed into him.
The chief was turning right onto Nob Hill Road. The 15-year-old bicyclist was in the crosswalk, heading south, when the collision occurred. Luckily, the young boy was not injured.
The officer was not issued a ticket in the accident, even though accident reports indicate that he was at fault. The officer has failed to comment on the accident, but the department’s captain says that they’re just thankful that no one was hurt.
Our Davie pedestrian accident lawyers understand that the accident will be reviewed by the department’s review board, but there’s no guarantee that anyone will be reprimanded. Usually, a chief would determine disciplinary action against any officer who has been involved in an accident after the case is reviewed by the board. Right now, the officer involved in the accident could face further training or potentially stiffer punishments. While officers, just like any other driver, should be penalized for accidents in which they’re found at fault, it’s often unlikely. When an officer is involved in an accident, it will be their own peers who are reviewing the case. An unbiased conclusion and proposed penalty are often not in the cards.
Although Captain Dale Engle says that they treat their own officers the same, it doesn’t matter if you’re one of the department’s chiefs or if you’re a beginner officer on the street. He says all cases are dealt the same way. He defends the department’s actions by saying that if the accident would have involved a civilian driver, they may not have gotten a ticket either. He says there’s been no special treatment in this case.
The young cyclist’s sister and legal guardian isn’t so sure. She says that she’s upset that the accident reports clearly state that the collision was the fault of the officer and that he wasn’t given a ticket.
This isn’t just a problem we face here in Davie. There have been many of these types of cases elsewhere in Florida and throughout the rest of the country. According to Eugene O’Donnell, a professor with John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, this is a hot topic in the world of law enforcement. There’s a conflict when officers are investigating their own officers. It gets even tougher when the officer involved in the accident is higher up in the department.
Sandy Hardwick, a witness to the accident, wonders why the officer didn’t get a ticket, too. She thinks it’s because he’s a chief. She says that if she was in his shoes, she would have gotten a ticket for sure! The traffic light was red, the young bicycler had the right of way and the officer failed to recognize that.
If you have been injured in an accident in Broward County or the surrounding area, contact Fort Lauderdale Accident Lawyer Richard Ansara at 954 761-3641 or toll-free at 877-277-3780 for a free initial consultation.
More Blog Entries:
Fort Lauderdale Pedestrian Accident Kills Elderly Walker, Injures Another, Broward Injury Lawyer Blog, March 22, 2012
Risks of Bicycle Accidents in Broward County Increased with Bike-Sharing Program?, Broward Injury Lawyer Blog, March 15, 2012