It’s time again to remind drivers in Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore and the District to be alert when approaching police patrol cars and other emergency vehicles stopped on the roadside; this is because injury accidents do happen to law enforcement officers and emergency personnel while doing their jobs on Maryland’s highways and surface streets.
While this may seem like an obvious warning, believe us when we say highway and urban automobile and commercial truck crashes happen with alarming frequency, even to patrolmen, firefighters and EMS personnel while helping others on public roads.
As Maryland personal injury lawyers and auto accident attorneys, we represent all manner of individuals hurt in traffic accidents while driving in their cars, SUVs and motorcycles. Now that the summer is in full swing, more and more people are enjoying outings with family and friends, all the while not realizing that a serious accident could be just around the next bend.
High-speed car, truck or motorcycle crashes can injure or kill drivers and passengers inside a motor vehicle, as well as bystanders and other individuals near the crash site. Highway patrol officers are one of the groups at higher risk for injury due to a traffic accident. Once an officer is outside his or her police cruiser, they are as vulnerable as any pedestrian to an impact from a passenger car or semi tractor-trailer rig.
Of course, law enforcement officers are also trained to manage this added risk and they know to be aware of their surroundings so that they might avoid becoming a statistic. Not long ago, an officer from the Anne Arundel County police department was critically injured when another vehicle struck the patrolmen’s unmarked police SUV.
The crash occurred during a routine traffic stop on a Friday night a little after 11pm in Glen Burnie, MD; The incident took place along a stretch of Baltimore Annapolis Blvd. not far from Castle Harbour Way.
According to news reports, an older GMC pickup being operated by 32-year-old Steven Parsons from Millersville, struck the back end of the police car as the officer was conducting the traffic stop. And while the police vehicle was reportedly unmarked and only partially on the shoulder of the roadway, it did have its emergency lights activated, according to police reports.
The GMC smashed into the police SUV just as the occupants of the stopped vehicle were exiting according to the officer’s instructions. The force of the impact caused all three people to be hurt as a result. The officer apparently dove into the vacated vehicle just prior to impact in an effort to protect himself from injury.
One of the occupants of the stopped vehicle, a 26-year-old out-of-state man, was transported by emergency personnel to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Reports at the time stated that the man was in critical, yet stable condition. The officer, Sgt. Keith Clark, suffered a number of lesser injuries as he sought shelter in the stopped car. Both Clark and Parsons were taken to Baltimore Washington Medical Center for treatment of minor and non-life threatening injuries, most likely cuts and bruises.
Police reports indicate that Parsons failed to observe Maryland’s “Move Over Law,” which requires drivers to change lanes away from the side of the road where an emergency vehicle is parked with its lights flashing, or to slow down as their vehicle passes the patrol car or emergency vehicle. If it is determined that Parsons ignored the Move Over law, he could be facing a $110 fine and two points on his license. Police were reportedly investigating whether the man was drunk or otherwise impaired at the time of the collision.
Arundel officer, 2 others injured in crash, BaltimoreSun.com, June 11, 2011