Distracted cops have caused hundreds of accidents in Colorado, for reasons ranging from spilling drinks in their cruisers to accidentally firing weapons through the floorboards, according to an investigation by Denver’s Fox31.
The station found that Denver police were responsible for causing 308 preventable accidents, and state troopers caused another 219. Cops in Adams County and Aurora wrecked their cars 115 and 80 times, respectively.
In one instance, a Boulder police officer hit a 21-year-old woman who was legally crossing an intersection on her bicycle, knocking her across the hood and onto the street. She suffered injuries to her back, legs and hips but didn’t call for an ambulance because she had no insurance and couldn’t afford the bill, she told Fox31. The officer who hit her also didn’t call for medical help, according to radio dispatch logs obtained by the station.
But when the woman later contacted the police department asking to be reimbursed for damages to her bike, she was sent a $50 citation for not having a light on her bicycle.
The officer was also cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, Fox31 reported.
In Denver, a distracted police officer ran a red light and was hit by a car driven by motorist Shane McHale, causing McHale to collide with the patrol car and knock it into a ditch, crushing the front end of his own car in the process.
Even though he wasn’t at fault — Fox31 reported that McHale was sober and driving the speed limit, and the officer wasn’t on an emergency call — McHale told the station he was scared because the other driver was a police officer.
“I was just thinking, I just lost the game of life,” he said. “In the game of life if you hit a cop car you lose. That’s it. Going to jail — never being out of debt in my entire life.”
But even though the officer involved was found to be responsible for the accident, he wasn’t given a traffic ticket — instead, he was docked three days pay and asked to take a remedial driving course. It was the officer’s second at-fault crash in two years.
Denver Police Sergeant Steve Warneke told the station that the department fines careless drivers within the department because the court process can be “cumbersome.”
Among the 308 accidents caused by Denver cops, 136 were for careless driving, 106 involved problems backing up and 21 involved driving too fast.
Denver paid out about $146,000 for repairs to motorists’ cars wrecked by police since 2011, Fox31 reported.
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