Watsonville Fire Truck Collides With Police Officer

Posted By Caputo & Van Der Walde LLP || 16-Sep-2009

The Mercury News recently reported about the aftermath of a 2008 traffic accident involving a fire truck and a police cruiser. While no one was injured during the accident, the circumstances of the collision have been brought into question as the result of a suspension handed down to the driver of the fire truck for being declared responsible for the crash. This story brings to light the issue of emergency vehicles, and whether or not accidents caused by those vehicles are considered the same as accidents involving all other motorists on the road.

Both vehicles were responding to an emergency involving a 9-year-old boy who had stopped breathing. While the driver of the fire truck did slow down as he approached the intersection of Lincoln Street and East Lake Avenue, the fire truck nevertheless collided with a police cruiser that was also responding to the emergency. Though the fire truck had both its lights and sirens turned on, the police department declared that the fire truck was at fault for the accident because it ran a red light. Reasoning for the fire truck being at fault, as given by the police department, was speculation as to “what if the police car had been a minivan filled with people” and there had been injuries. This scenario seems relatively cut and dry according to an objective viewpoint of the law.

According to the law, if an emergency vehicle is responding to an emergency, then all other motorists on the road are required to yield to that vehicle. In this case, with two emergency vehicles involved, the question arises as to who was truly at fault. Had there been injuries, both the fire department and the police department would have each undoubtedly denied responsibility, and would have done everything in their power to blame each other, disregarding their actions by focusing solely on the resulting consequences. While the police department posing the hypothetical situation of what would have happened if innocent motorists were injured is somewhat hypocritical, given the notion, the same could have been said in regard to the police cruiser’s actions. Regardless, emergency personnel are not immune from accidents and injuries they create simply because they are responding to other accidents and injury victims.

Accident victims do have rights, and all circumstances surrounding an accident need to be taken into close consideration in order to determine exactly who was at fault for creating the accident in the first place. If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a traffic accident, please don’t hesitate to contact the auto accident lawyers in Santa Cruz at Van Der Walde & Associates. We will hold negligible parties responsible for their actions, and will seek monetary damages on your behalf that can be used to help cover the costs incurred by your accident, such as medical bills and physical therapy fees. Please contact us today for a free consultation at (800) 900-0863.

Categories: Auto Accident
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