Roadside traffic accidents. If they can happen to a state trooper, you’d better believe the same can happen to any one of us. While police and emergency responders put their lives on the line when answering emergency calls following an automobile or commercial truck accident, it’s important to remember that the biggest threat they face is the other vehicles traveling past the scene of the collision.
As Maryland personal injury lawyers, we know how extensive a car-pedestrian traffic collision can be. The human body is no match for a 3000-pound sedan or minivan, not to mention a commercial delivery truck or city bus. That’s why many people hit by a motor vehicle end up either dying or being critically injured and facing months or even years of physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Concussions, closed-head injuries, spinal cord damage and broken bones are a few of the more serious injuries experienced by victims of pedestrian traffic accidents. As we mentioned above, police and fire department rescue personnel are exposed to these dangers on a fairly regular basis. Whether you live in Baltimore, Gaithersburg, Rockville or the District, pedestrian accidents are a common occurrence in this area.
According to a news article, one law enforcement officer narrowly escaped certain injury and possible death when he realized a vehicle was about to crash into him during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 95. Based on news accounts, a 27-year-old rookie trooper jumped over barrier to avoid being hit by an allegedly drunk driver who unexpectedly veered onto the shoulder and hit the officer’s cruiser.
Trooper Thaddeus Allen, who served two tours in Iraq as an Army infantryman, was on duty in the early morning hours of a Friday when the accident occurred. Taught that a police officer’s most dangerous enemy is the traffic on the road, Allen was with a field training officer, Trooper Elix Gerber, when the automobile crash took place.
According to reports, the driver who nearly hit Allen was 27-year-old Scott Schawrtz from Baltimore who was operating a Ford Taurus at a little after 1am when the collision happened.
Troopers Allen and Gerber had moments before pulled up behind a disabled vehicle on I-95 North in Prince George’s County. The female driver of the vehicle had run out of fuel several exits from her home and was reportedly calling for help from the car’s passenger seat. The woman’s vehicle had stalled out in a construction zone and was in an active travel lane at the time.
As Allen was busy placing warning flares to alert approaching drivers, the Ford came barreling at him; he had enough time to drop the flares and jump over the concrete barrier to safety. The Taurus smashed into the left rear corner of the unmarked police cruiser, causing it to strike the back of the woman’s car. The Ford lost its front tire, which was thrown across the northbound lanes of the interstate and hitting two other vehicles in the process.
Although no one was injured in the crash, Schwartz was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless and negligent driving, and failure to reduce speed to avoid a collision. Allen stated that he had purposely parked his vehicle several feet away from the rear of the disabled automobile. Had the cars been bumper-to-bumper, there was a chance that the woman could have been severely injured and may have been killed had she been thrown through her vehicle’s windshield.
Crime Scenes: Rookie trooper jumps over barrier to avoid crash, BaltimoreSun.com, March 16, 2011