Five people suffered serious injuries in a Los Angeles car accident after a man crashed a stolen sedan into an SUV as he was fleeing police. According to a Fox News report, the two-car crash occurred at East 43rd and San Pedro streets the night of October 18, 2009. Los Angeles police officials began pursuing the driver of the sedan when they saw him run a red light and tried to stop him. But the driver did not comply and fled running several red lights including one on East 43rd and San Pedro streets, where the car slammed into a Ford Explorer SUV.
Five people suffered serious injuries and were transported to a local hospital. The driver of the stolen car and another person sustained minor injuries. The driver, whose name was not released, was taken into custody at the scene.
My heart goes out to these injured victims. I hope their injuries were not catastrophic. I wish them all the very best for a quick and complete recovery. It’s unfortunate that the SUV was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Please keep these injured victims in your prayers.
Car Accidents in Los Angeles
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), 260 deaths and 27,110 injuries were reported as a result of car accidents Los Angeles. In Los Angeles County as a whole, 712 fatalities and 56,475 injuries were reported in 2007 as a result of car accidents.
Based on this newspaper report, police officers pursued the sedan because the driver ran a red light and it was a stolen car. But as it turned, it was an extremely dangerous pursuit where the driver ran several red lights once he realized the police were after him. It’s a miracle that this chase did not kill other innocent bystanders or motorists. There is no question that the suspect who initiated the pursuit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. However, the question here is whether Los Angeles police did the right thing by pursuing auto theft suspects and putting the lives of other innocent people at risk.
California Law Relating to Police Pursuits
California law provides immunity to police departments that have adopted a “vehicle pursuit policy.” This is a written policy, which states that the department has rules and regulations when it comes to police pursuits and trains their officers periodically on these matters. Such police departments are immune from liability for civil damages for personal injuries or death resulting from the pursuit to the suspect or to an innocent bystander. This law most likely protects the Los Angeles Police Department from liability. But it does nothing to protect the rights of the victims, in this case, the five seriously injured victims.
Undoubtedly, police officers have a duty to apprehend dangerous criminals. In most of these cases, police officers do a commendable job. However, there needs to be a balancing test between the danger to the public and the requirement to apprehend a suspect. Our justice system should not allow officers to engage in high-speed chases without weighing the good that comes from catching a suspect against the safety of innocent bystanders who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The victims and their families would be well-served to consult with an experienced Los Angeles car accident lawyer who can give them more information about the law and their legal rights. Please remember that any claim against a California governmental agency must be properly filed within 180 days of the accident or injury.
The Bisnar Chase Personal Injury Attorneys is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this article at the time the article was posted. Our information source is cited in the article. If you were involved in this incident or a similar incident and have questions as to your rights and options, call us or another reputable law firm. Do not act solely upon the information provided herein. Get a consultation. The best law firms will provide a free consultation. We provide a free, confidential consultation to not at fault persons named in this article. The free consultation offer extends to family members as well.