Three people were injured in an Anaheim car accident, which officials say was caused by a female driver who was fleeing police officers, the morning of April 17, 2012. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the woman fled the police after apparently trying to cash a forged check. The woman drove her Honda SUV south on the 5 Freeway. She then got off the freeway at Harbor Boulevard, went west on Ball and north on Manchester Avenue. She ended up colliding with two vehicles at the intersection of Broadway. A woman driving a Ford sedan was hospitalized with unknown injuries while a man in a Chevy Blazer was treated at the scene and released. The suspect was also injured, but was arrested on various charges including forgery and evasion.
My heart goes out to the two injured victims of this crash. I wish them the very best for a speedy and complete recovery. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Car Accident Statistics
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2009 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were 23 fatalities and 1,970 injuries involving Anaheim car accidents. During the same year, 141 people died and 13,373 were injured due to Orange County car accidents.
Laws and Liability Issues
Based on this news article, it appears that the police were pursuing the woman who is suspected of committing a crime, although it was not a violent crime. It is not clear how fast the woman was driving as police officers pursued her.
California law provides immunity to police departments that have adopted a “vehicle pursuit policy.” California Vehicle Code Section 17004 states: “A public agency employing peace officers that adopts and promulgates a written policy on, and provides regular and periodic training on an annual basis for, vehicular pursuits … is immune from liability for civil damages for personal injury to or death of any person or damage to property resulting from the accident of a vehicle being operated by an actual or suspected violator of the law who is being, has been, or believes he or she is being or has been, pursued in a motor vehicle by a peace officer employed by the public entity.”
In this particular case, injured victims can seek compensation from the at-fault driver who caused the crash. An experienced Anaheim personal injury lawyer will be able to determine whether the police officers followed proper procedures in initiating the pursuit. While it is important that criminals are apprehended, police officers have a responsibility to balance that with the safety of other drivers and pedestrians on the roadway.