We’d like to take this opportunity to remind drivers in and around Maryland to always be alert to potential traffic dangers, be it in Rockville, Gaithersburg, Howie or the District. More to the point, be aware that police officers doing their jobs should be given a wide berth when approaching and passing police cruiser. Furthermore, while we all understand that it’s sometimes difficult to avoid staring at the scene of a car accident or other roadside emergency, this is no time to be losing one’s concentration on other aspects of the roadway and traffic in the immediate area.
As Maryland injury attorneys, we’ve seen enough victims of car, truck and motorcycle crashes to know the value of safe and conscientious drivers. And, having represented our share of individuals hurt by the negligent, careless or deliberately harmful actions of another motorist, we know the pain and discomfort that can accompany bodily injuries received in roadway collision.
High-speed car and trucking-related crashes can cause extensive injury or even death; both driver and passengers are at risk when something goes wrong at expressway speeds. As we said previously, highway patrol officers and other law enforcement and emergency personnel are members of a larger group of at-risk individuals when it comes to traffic accidents.
While nearly anybody can be injured or killed in a roadside accident, the sad fact is that police are constantly threatened by the very nature of their work. Even with extensive schooling and on-the-job training, even policemen can be caught by surprise when a passing car or large commercial truck breezes by with only a few feet clearance between a huge vehicle and a human being on the roadside.
Not long ago there were a couple instances where Maryland law officers were injured on the job by an errant motor vehicle. According to news reports, a state trooper was hurt in an apparent late-night hit-and-run along a stretch of Interstate 83 near Ruxton Rd. The 30-year-old officer was reportedly carrying out a routine traffic stop on the northbound shoulder of I-83 when a passing vehicle clipped the patrolman with its mirror.
The accident, which happened around 1am, caused the officer to be pushed up against a suspect’s vehicle that had just earlier been pulled over for a traffic violation. The driver of the vehicle that struck the officer continued to drive one after the incident.
New reports indicate that the patrolman, who was wearing a reflective jacket at the time of the impact, radioed for help and alerted other troopers to the hit-and-run incident. Pieces of the vehicle that hit the policeman were collected at the scene and used to track the suspect down. Meanwhile, the officer was taken to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.
A few days later, a 30-year-old man voluntarily turned himself in to police in connection with the hit-and-run crash. That man was charged with failing stop at the scene of an injury accident, as well as failure to render aid to an injured person and negligent driving, among others. He was ordered to be held at the Baltimore Co. Detention Center on $275,000 bond.
In a similar incident, another officer and a suspect were both injured in a traffic accident along a stretch of eastbound Rte 144 in Howard County. According to news articles, a county police officer was taking a driver into custody on the roadside when another vehicle crashed into the officer’s cruiser near Griffith Road. Apparently, a Volvo passenger car driven by a 25-year-old Mount Airy man collided with two police cars at the scene of that ongoing arrest.
The victims were transported via Maryland State Police helicopters to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where each of them received treatment for reportedly non-life-threatening injuries. At the time of the news report, charges had yet to be filed pending a wrap-up of the police investigation into the crash.
Police officer, two others injured in Mt. Airy crash, Baltimoresun.com, January 22, 2012
Trooper injured in hit-and-run on I-83, BaltimoreSun.com, January 15, 2012
Man charged in Trooper hit and run, ABC2News.com, January 18, 2012