It’s true that even with extensive training, police officers can be taken by surprise by a traffic situation that results in bodily injury to that patrolman. Over the past several years police departments and law enforcement agencies have put in place safety-related policies for officers whose work is conducted almost exclusively on roadways, not far from high volumes of traffic.
But even with safety training and procedures, the potential still exists for an officer to be hit by a passing car, commercial truck or motorcycle. The message here, for those in the general public, would be to use extreme caution whenever you or a family member is stranded by the roadside with a car-related mechanical problem or other event. Fatal or severe injury is just a step away on Maryland’s highways and surface streets, where pedestrians and motor vehicles are in close proximity.
As Baltimore automobile and commercial truck accident lawyers, we represent individuals who have been hurt in a traffic accident or other kind of personal injury accident in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Whether a person is hurt in a roadway collision injuries can range from mild to severe, with some people being laid up in the hospital for weeks or months recovering from such problems as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, or trauma to internal organs.
Not long ago, a police officer was critically injured when she was thrown off an elevated roadway after her patrol car was struck by another passenger vehicle along a northbound stretch of Interstate 83 in the Baltimore area. According to reports, 27-year-old Officer Teresa Rigby fell more than 25 feet, landing on the hard concrete surface of a parking area below the highway. Eye witnesses said that they looked up after hearing screeching tires just in time to see the officer fall from the upper roadway.
Based on police reports, the crash occurred a little after 9am during a Tuesday morning commute. The officer was out of her vehicle and reportedly overseeing the removal of a disabled automobile from the scene of a previous traffic wreck when another driver apparently lost control of their vehicle and plowed into the officer’s patrol car. The force of the collision caused a chain reaction and shoved the parked police cruiser into the disabled vehicle, which then forced the officer off the bridge.
According to news reports, Officer Rigby received numerous injuries following the accident, but was apparently conscious as she was being transported by ambulance to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Based on police reports, three additional persons were hurt in the collision, including the driver of the vehicle that hit Officer Rigby’s patrol car, the tow truck driver and the driver of the vehicle that was being towed that morning.
Based on news reports following the accident, Rigby required surgery to one of her legs, which needed rods to be inserted. Doctors also said that the officer’s pelvis had been fractured in the fall and that she would also require facial reconstructive surgery.
At the time of the news reports, Baltimore police were still investigating the circumstances of the crash, with charges possibly pending against the driver of the car that hit Rigby’s cruiser and triggered the near-fatal collision.
Officer Thrown Off JFX Still Critical but Stable, Patch.com, June 22, 2011
Update on police crash: officer thrown off elevated highway to parking lot 30 feet below, BaltimoreSun.com, June 21, 2011