Police chases and traffic stops can sometimes escalate and contribute to motor vehicle accidents and injuries. Levine Law has compiled news articles outlining police involvement in motor vehicle accidents in Wisconsin.
Preventing Motor Vehicle Accidents by Stopping Aggressive Driving
It is especially tragic when a car accident occurs due to preventable factors, such as dangerous driving. Motor vehicle accidents that are caused by some form of aggressive driving often result in serious injuries or fatalities, which is why Wisconsin police are cracking down on these drivers. One of the ways that they intend to combat this is by writing more tickets for speeding.
Traffic experts say that aggressive drivers cause problems that are similar to those caused by drunk or distracted drivers. While speeding can be a form of aggressive driving, other types can include following too closely, failure to yield, merging too closely, changing lanes too close to other vehicles and more. These behaviors create unnecessary dangers and increase the chance of injury for others.
Wisconsin law enforcement is not only looking to target speeding drivers — they are specifically looking to target drivers who are dangerous speeders. Drivers who go five or 10 mph over the speed limit are considered reckless, but police are targeting those who are driving 15 mph or more over the limit. By penalizing these drivers, it is hoped that fewer people will suffer injuries in accidents.
Law enforcement cannot prevent all motor vehicle accidents, and those who have suffered due to the reckless actions of other drivers have the right to a full and fair recovery. When a speeding driver causes an accident that leaves a person injured, the driver may be financially liable for damages. Reckless driving is completely preventable and an inexcusable behavior, and drivers who endanger others in this manner can be held accountable.
Source: startribune.com, “Police officers in Wisconsin target aggressive drivers”, Feb. 12, 2017
Some Motor Vehicle Accidents Occur During Police Chases
A man in Wisconsin who was out of jail on bail regarding a third offense drunk driving issue recently exacerbated his situation by becoming involved in a police chase. He was involved in several motor vehicle accidents, one of which resulted in injury to another person. It is often quite difficult to overcome charges that are filed in such circumstances.
The police were made aware of a potential problem when someone called 911 to report a vehicle that was making erratic and unsafe moves on the highway. Several additional calls came into the emergency number shortly after the initial call. There were reports of the vehicle hitting a traffic pole.
Another motorist told police a pickup truck appeared to be trying to cause a collision with him. At some point, police located and began to pursue the vehicle in question. Officers say the driver would not stop even after they launched road sticks. The driver, instead, reportedly drove straight through the obstacles, careened into other lanes of traffic and hit another car, causing injury to the driver.
Motor vehicle accidents that result in drunk driving charges often do not play out in defendants’ favors when other people suffered injuries or death. In this case, the man who was driving the supposedly fleeing vehicle already has several drunk driving convictions on his record, and in this situation, his blood alcohol content level was said to be chemically tested at .22. Anyone in Wisconsin facing similar legal problems at this time would likely benefit from a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Source: jsonline.com, “Wisconsin motorist charged in wild chase that ended with crash, hair on fire“, Meg Jones, Nov. 21, 2017
When Criminal Law Intersects with Motor Vehicle Accidents
Wisconsin police officers often later claim they had reasonable cause to engage in a vehicle pursuit when one or more parties allegedly left the scene of crime or exhibited some other behavior while driving that caught their attention. The problem is that some police chases end in motor vehicle accidents, sometimes with fatal results. This is evident in a recent tragedy that took place when law enforcement officers tried to catch up with a car they claim was traveling more than 90 mph.
The incident occurred on a recent Saturday. A woman, age 35, was reportedly behind the wheel of the car that was being chased by police. A 36-year-old man was traveling as her passenger at the time.
Authorities say the woman’s vehicle was traveling at excessively high rates of speed in a 55 mph zone. Maintaining steering control at high speeds is difficult, especially if road terrain is unstable or includes sharp turns. The woman in this situation is said to have lost control of her vehicle at some point, causing it to roll over before it crashed to a halt.
Sadly, the impact of the crash was so severe that the woman did not survive her injuries. The passenger in the vehicle was transported to an area hospital for emergency treatment. His injuries are listed as life-threatening. Wisconsin motor vehicle accidents that result in serious injuries often lead to litigation if a recovering victim pursues recovery for his or her losses against a driver deemed negligent. In situations like this one, an injured passenger may have cause for action against the estate of the deceased driver.
Source: wbay.com, “One person dead, another injured after police pursuit ends in crash“, May 6, 2018
Man Shows Dangers of Not Following Move Over Law
When an officer or local sheriff spots some suspicious activity, they will pull over the suspect to the side of the road to discuss the matter. It could be a serious offense like driving while intoxicated or just to simply remind them to turn on their headlights. Regardless of the circumstances, the other drivers should give the two the space necessary to discuss the issue peacefully.
To ensure this, Wisconsin enforces the “Move Over Law.” Like other states, drivers must switch to a further lane if a police or emergency vehicle is on the side with another driver or slow down to avoid any accidents. Drivers who fail to do this can risk causing critical injuries to themselves, the driver on the side and any of the emergency vehicle operator. They also can face serious charges for their negligence, as can be seen with a recent driver in Outagamie County.
On the night of Tuesday, September 4, a Wisconsin State Trooper pulled over a driver on I-41 to warn the motorist of a defective headlight. Seconds after the trooper returns to his squad car, another vehicle arrives and crashes into the parked motorist, sending the driver into a ditch. The parked driver suffers non-life-threatening injuries while the other one is facing several charges.
The State Patrol also released Dash camera footage of the accident to the public. Had the trooper not moved seconds earlier, he could have suffered serious injuries from the crash. The footage also demonstrates that the careless motorist had room to drive in the other lane and struck the parker driver at high speeds.
Paying the price
Though the officials have not determined if it was an impaired or distracted driving accident, the negligent driver will still have multiple charges to face regardless. Drivers who violate the Move Over Law will have their license suspended with a length dependent on the severity of the accident. As the driver caused bodily harm but no death, it is likely he will have a license suspension between 180 days to 2 years.
Drivers and emergency vehicles are vulnerable when they are parked on the side of the road, so all motorists need to respect their space and avoid getting close or going too fast. Victims of this negligent driving behavior should contact a personal injury attorney to help them recover from an accident that should have been easily avoidable.
Stolen Vehicle Speeds into Town and Causes Roll-over Crash
Speeding is one way to be sure that any crash you’re in will be worse than if you’d been traveling the speed limit. Despite that, people speed every day, hoping to get to their destinations faster, to evade police, to race or for other reasons.
In a case in Milwaukee, speeding is what led to a roll-over accident. Police reported that a red Ford was traveling at a high speed at around 8:30 p.m. as it approached Hope Avenue. Another vehicle struck the Ford as it entered into oncoming traffic. The Ford went on to barely miss the squad car observing the incident before flipping. It then went on to strike another vehicle.
There were three people inside the Ford, and all were able to be removed safely after the incident. They received medical attention. The police then discovered that the vehicle was stolen, so the occupants, now suspects, were taken into custody.
Other people were also hurt in the collision and had to be taken to the local hospital. Fortunately, their injuries appeared to be nonlife-threatening at the time of the Mar. 13 report.
Crashes like this shouldn’t take place; there were many things that went wrong for the incident to happen. Regardless of the factors leading up to an accident, it is necessary for victims to be able to seek compensation and financial support from those who cause their injuries. Medical expenses can be high after a crash, especially if victims suffer severe injuries. In cases like this one, it’s essential to hold the reckless driver responsible for the damage they’ve caused.
Have you been involved in an auto accident? Contact Levine Law.
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