Officer Runs Red Light, Injures Civilian

A sheriff's deputy in Sacramento County ran a red light this week, reportedly without using lights and sirens, crashing into another car. The accident happened at about 1:30 p.m. on March 7 near the intersection of Watt and Northrop Avenues in Sacramento.

The car accident occurred while the officer was headed to a reported theft in progress. While he was heading south on Watt Ave., he rammed into the other car. The deputy was apparently traveling at a high rate of speed, which increased the severity of the crash. The police unit, a K9 car, was traveling with a search dog, who sustained minor injuries in the accident. The deputy also sustained relatively small injuries and was treated and quickly released from the hospital. The driver of the civilian car was transported to the hospital with minor injuries that do not appear life-threatening.

Authorities say that the deputy likely ran a red light while attempting to quickly drive to the scene of the crime. Representatives from the Sacramento County Sheriff's office told reporters that extensive procedures do exist to prevent civilian injury during a lights-and-sirens call, and it appears that the deputy did not follow those rules. The crime in question did not warrant such a speedy response, according to spokespeople, and the crash will remain under investigation.

The deputy driving the car has been working for the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department for more than 10 years.

Although little data exists about the fatalities that result from all police car crashes, a number of organizations advocate against high-speed response and chases such as the one described above. An advocacy group reports that about three Americans die each week as a result of police chases that are related to non-violent crimes. More than 40 percent of people killed or injured in police pursuits were bystanders or innocent third parties.

Source: Channel 40 News, "Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Involved in Crash," Bhavisha Patel and Elissa Harrington, March 7, 2012

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