Two car crashes sent three Norfolk, Virginia (VA), police officers to hospitals with injuries during the final week of December 2015. Both wrecks are being blamed on civilians who failed to yield right of way to police vehicles moving through intersections with their flashers going and sirens sounding.
The first crash occurred at Tidewater Drive and Thole Street on the afternoon of December 26. According to news reports, the officer stopped at his own light to ensure the intersection had cleared, proceeded when the light changed quickly, and was still struck by a car emerging from the side street. The police officer sustained minor injuries, as did two passengers in other vehicle involved in the crash.
On the night of December 29, a second police cruiser was hit by a car while crossing Lowery Street on Military Highway. This time, the police vehicle had a green light all the way. Two officers got hurt, and the at-fault civilian driver has been charged with ignoring a stop signal.
It's tough to know what the drivers who wrecked the police cars were thinking. They appear to have committed numerous mistakes all at the same time. The first error would be disregarding the warning lights and sirens, which all drivers must interpret as orders to slow down, move over or even stop to make way for emergency responders and law enforcement officials. The at-fault drivers then also ignored red lights, placing them in danger of crashing with whichever vehicles were legally in the intersection.
Fortunately, no one died as a result of the negligence or recklessness of the drivers who failed to make way for the police officers. The collisions really never should have occurred in the first place, though. Each driver must pay attention to sirens, flashers and red lights. Doing less creates too many dangers.