Just because a person in Albuquerque is a police officer does not mean they are above the law. Just like any other motorist, police officers are tasked with driving with due care for the safety of others. Those who fail to do this and negligently cause an accident may face a lawsuit brought by the injured victims.
This is what is happening to one Albuquerque police officer who was involved in five crashes over the past three years while on the job. He is being sued with regard to two of those accidents. However, according to police, the crashes were not preventable, and police officers must, per their job duties, spend a lot of time in their patrol vehicles.
With regard to the officer being sued, one victim is claiming the officer was negligent and careless in an accident involving three vehicles. According to police reports, the officer struck a motorist from behind while searching for a vehicle that had been stolen. The motorist that was rear-ended then struck a second vehicle from behind. The victim was a passenger in one of the vehicles involved in the crash and suffered injuries due to the accident.
A second lawsuit was recently filed in response to a motor vehicle accident that occurred in July of last year. The victim of that accident was turning onto a street from Interstate 40 when the officer struck the driver's side of the vehicle. At the time of the crash, the officer was responding to a call regarding the theft of an automobile. The victim claims that at the time of the crash, the officer had the lights on his vehicle flashing, but did not engage the vehicle's siren. The victim claims the officer was negligent by speeding on an overpass with limited visibility without warning other motorists of his presence by turning on his siren. The victim suffered a bruised kidney, among other damages.
Despite these two lawsuits, no disciplinary actions were taken against the officer. However, police still must take reasonable care when behind the wheel, even if they are on the job. Those who have been injured in car accidents involving police vehicles may want to seek legal advice.
Source: Albuquerque Journal, "APD officer sued twice for separate on-duty crashes," Ryan Boetel, June 20, 2017