An on-duty Newport Beach police officer ran a red light causing a Newport Beach car accident the night of May 28, 2009, the Daily Pilot reports. The Newport Beach street intersection car accident occurred when the on-duty officer, who has not been identified, was eastbound on Pacific Coast Highway. Eyewitnesses said he ran a red light at Avocado Avenue and hit another car that was turning left onto Pacific Coast Highway. Authorities say the police officer was not responding to a call at the time of the Southern California car crash. Both the officer and the other driver were taken to a local hospital with personal injuries.
California Highway Patrol officials are investigating the Orange County car accident so there is no conflict, officials said. It is not out of the ordinary for a second law enforcement agency to step in and take over the investigation when the local agency is involved in an incident.
I’m relieved that this Newport Beach car accident did not cause any catastrophic or fatal injuries. I understand from this news report that both the officer and the injured victim did not suffer major personal injuries. I wish them both the very best for a quick and complete recovery.
Traffic laws are the same for all. Emergency vehicles such as fire engines, ambulances and police cruisers are exempt in cases where a police officer is in pursuit of suspect or when a paramedic is rushing to a medical aid. Even there, protocols must be followed and all safety precautions must be taken to avoid situations, especially at intersections where it can get dangerous.
However, in this case, the police officer was simply on patrol. He was not responding to a call or to an emergency situation. It may have been inattention on his part. This case is another instance of how even trained professionals sometimes make poor decisions. The questions that arise here are whether inattention or negligence may have caused this car crash. Was the officer distracted because he was looking at the computer, responding to a dispatcher or communicating with someone else?
The car collision victim would be well advised to contact experienced Newport Beach car accident attorneys, who will help determine the liability of the police department in this case. If the officer is found to have run the red light as a result of negligence, his employer — the Newport Beach Police Department — could be held liable for personal injuries and damages caused to the victim. Please remember that any claim against a governmental agency in the state of California must be filed within 180 days of the accident/injury. The best Orange County personal injury attorneys will always provide a free and comprehensive initial consultation to injured victims and their families.