A reckless, Wild West-style police chase that began with an out-of-state car speeding through the Bronx ended with three crushed cars and four injured victims.
NYPD officers first tried to pull over the vehicle, which had Pennsylvania plates, near the intersection of Crescent and Hughes in Belmont. Instead of pulling over, the car accelerated and officers pursued. The suspect vehicle finally came to a stop near Fordham University; according to witnesses, the car sideswiped two marked police cruisers while trying to jump a curb. As officers converged on the disabled vehicle, they fired at least one shot. Charges are pending against the three people inside the car, whose names were not released.
Four officers were rushed to Jacobi Hospital with neck and back injuries.
High Speed Police Chase
Over the past few decades, reckless pursuits have injured or killed over 5,000 bystanders; this figure does not include the police and suspect casualties. The above incident could have been much worse, given the fact that officers fired near a crowded college campus to apprehend a driver who may have done nothing worse than speed.
These situations are so dangerous because there is such an adrenaline rush on both sides: the police feel the need to chase and the suspects feel a compelling need to run. This emotional high almost completely overwhelms any sense of responsibility to other drivers and bystanders.
To recover damages for economic and noneconomic losses, injured victims generally have two options:
- Extreme Recklessness: Many times, this analysis involves a risk-reward assessment. If the danger to bystanders greatly outweighs the need to apprehend the fleeing suspect, as is often the case, extreme recklessness may be present,
- Negligence Per Se: This concept is usually associated with violation of a statute. But if the department had a policy in place about such pursuits – which could be a permanent policy in an employee manual or a dispatcher’s order to “pursue with caution” – a reckless pursuit may be negligent.
Punitive damages are often awarded in these cases, due to the extreme recklessness involved and/or the officers’ conscious indifference regarding the safety of others.
For prompt assistance in this area, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Proner & Proner. Mr. Proner is AV-Rated based on his legal expertise and advocacy skills.