Dumbass Waterford Michigan Police Officer Annette Miller Crashed Into Tree While Chasing Motorcycle In SUV Without Using Emergency Lights Or Siren

June 3, 2012

WATERFORD, MICHIGAN – After a Waterford police officer suffered severe injuries in a crash May 23, discussion arose online about the officer not using her vehicle’s lights and sirens while attempting to catch a speeding motorcyclist.

“She could have taken action to alert other drivers in the area that she was in pursuit,” said one commenter.

Coreen Darnall noted “officers need to recognize (during pursuits) that it’s not always possible to see/hear oncoming emergency vehicles, even with sirens.”

Officer Annette Miller has been unable to speak after suffering severe injuries during an accident on Elizabeth Lake Road near Huron Street in Waterford.

During the incident, a 20-year-old man driving a Volkswagen turned in front of Miller’s police vehicle. When she swerved to avoid the car, she crashed into a tree. Emergency personnel had to extricate her from the police SUV, and she has been hospitalized since. The Volkswagen driver was hospitalized for precautionary reasons, police said.

Waterford Police Chief Daniel McCaw said Miller’s lights and siren not being activated was “typical for police officers.”

“If they observe a violation, lots of times they’ll catch up to the vehicle and when they get behind the vehicle, they’ll go ahead and activate the lights and siren.”

McCaw said that Miller was not yet in pursuit mode when she was traveling along Elizabeth Lake Road.

“She was trying to catch up to the (motorcyclist),” he said.

He said police often do not use lights and sirens. For example, he said, when an officer is responding to a burglary call, “you would go in with no lights or sirens.”

McCaw said pursuit policy has changed in police departments over time.

“Years ago police would chase for everything,” he said. “You have to weigh public safety so you don’t see the pursuits as you did years ago.”

In the May 23 crash, many commenters noted that police can’t just abandon the idea of chasing a suspect.

“If you don’t chase them, then we let crime win,” said Pat Bernieri. “Let the police do their jobs as they see fit.”

‘As long as bad guys flee, cops will pursue’

While Waterford stresses Miller was not in pursuit, accounts over the years indicate pursuits come with serious risks. About 35 to 40 percent of all police chases end in crashes, Geoffrey Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina said in a USA Today story in April 2010. Alpert noted that the nation’s 17,000 police departments are moving toward more restrictive chase policies “because chasing someone for a traffic offense or a property offense is not worth the risk of people’s lives and well-being.”

Police pursuit records provide frightening statistics, according to a report presented online by the FBI in 2010.

“First, the majority of police pursuits involve a stop for a traffic violation. Second, one person dies every day as a result of a police pursuit. On average, from 1994 through 1998, one law enforcement officer was killed every 11 weeks in a pursuit, and 1 percent of all U.S. law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty lost their lives in vehicle pursuits.

Innocent third parties who just happened to be in the way constitute 42 percent of persons killed or injured in police pursuits. Further, 1 out of every 100 high-speed pursuits results in a fatality.

Most area police agencies contacted indicated that officers are to use lights and sirens during the pursuit.

Royal Oak Chief Corey O’Donohue said the department has a lengthy pursuit policy.

“Yes, we use lights and sirens,” he said.

After every pursuit, the results are “evaluated to make sure officers follow policy and use sound judgment,” he said.

Officers in pursuit must contact dispatchers. “The pursuit can be overruled by the shift supervisor,” he said.

Victor Lauria, Novi’s assistant police chief, stressed the main concern during pursuits is the safety of innocent residents, police and the fleeing suspect. “There is significant risk,” he said of pursuits.

The police officer is “constantly evaluating the situation. Lights and sirens must be activated,” he said. “They serve two functions — they alert the suspect to stop and yield, and they alert others there is an emergency vehicle on the road.”

Speeding motorcyclist ‘paced’

An example of a high-speed pursuit of a motorcyclist without lights and siren on occurred in Washington in 2010, according to a story by the News Tribune in Tacoma. A Washington State trooper spotted a motorcycle speeding and passing vehicles.

The officer drove onto the highway and paced the motorcyclist going 80 to 90 mph in a 60 mph zone.

“Pacing” is when a police officer follows a driver, checking speeds by looking at his own speedometer.

In the Washington case, the biker sped up to 100 mph. The trooper then activated his emergency lights and sirens. Eventually the motorcyclist lost control of his vehicle and laid the bike down. Arrested and charged with eluding a police vehicle and stealing the motorcycle, the biker said he fled because he was scared.

Terrence Jungel, executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs Association, said police have always fielded complaints about high-speed pursuits.

“There were probably complaints about the (Old West’s) posse chasing bank robbers. As long as bad guys flee, cops will pursue,” Jungel said.

Law enforcement officials face liability if pursuits end badly.

Pursuits generally “put cops in a bad position,” he said.

“They have to try and second-guess what is going on. They have little information on why a driver is fleeing — it could be to avoid apprehension or to hide the fruits of a crime.”

As for using lights and sirens, he said “it depends. You don’t have cookie-cutter crimes. Police have to make split-second decisions that later end up in courts. Each situation dictates an appropriate response.”

Pursuit policies could differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, Jungel said.

“It depends if you are in cities or in a rural area,” he said.

Police don’t graduate without pursuit training.

Jungel stressed that pursuits are dangerous situations.

“We don’t like to face a man with a loaded gun and we don’t like to be in high-speed pursuits,” he said. “There are so many variables. The higher speeds mean greater liability.”

The Police Studies Council calls pursuits by police a “relatively dangerous, inexact undertaking.”

West Bloomfield Township Police Chief Michael Patton — whose department’s pursuit policy is 20 pages long — said pursuits are “a fact of life” in law enforcement, he said.

Patton worked with Officer Miller in the 1980s and said he is concerned about her recuperation.

Common sense and reasonableness apply during pursuits, he said.

“It’s a balancing act of risk versus benefit,” he said.

Patton has trained officers in pursuits. “We tell officers not to get caught up in the emotion of it,” he said. “That’s why supervisors step in (and are apprised during all pursuits).”

Police have authority of close the distance between a fleeing suspect and themselves, he said.

“Generally there is no such thing as a silent run pursuit,” Patton said.

The written pursuit policy for Michigan State Police outlines how troopers “shall weigh the hazard presented by the violator against that created by a vehicle pursuit. It is better to either delay the arrest or abandon the pursuit than to needlessly injure or kill innocent people, including our own members.”

When a pursuit starts, the officer “shall activate and continuously operate the emergency lights, siren and in-car video recorder on their vehicles until the pursuit has terminated or is abandoned,” according to the policy wording forwarded by spokeswoman Tiffany Brown.

Most departments contacted were reluctant to hand over their pursuit policies, saying they did not want everyone to know what tactics were employed by police. The City of Memphis, Tenn. posts its entire pursuit policy online. During a crime in progress or vehicle pursuits, classified as emergency calls, “officers will respond in emergency mode with both emergency lights and siren being used.”

USA Today reported that, according to professor Alpert, restrictive chase policies save lives. He stated in a National Institute of Justice research paper that police chases in Miami-Dade County dropped from 279 a year to 51 after the department implemented a more restrictive policy.

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Monroe County New York Deputy Sheriff Paul Doser Arrested After Drunken Wreck With Child In Car

May 26, 2012

HAMLIN, NEW YORK – A Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy is facing felony DWI charges under Leandra’s Law.

The sheriff’s department says Sergeant Paul Doser, 40, was arrested after sheriff’s deputies responded to a crash on Brick Schoolhouse Road in Hamlin. When Police arrived they came across the overturned vehicle in the field.

Doser had two passengers in the car, one of which was a 6-year old. He child was transported to an area hospital as a precaution. Doser and the other passenger were uninjured.

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Leeds Alabama Police Officer Crashed Patrol Car In Single Vehicle 2 AM Interstate Wreck

April 19, 2012

LEEDS, ALABAMA – A Leeds police officer was taken to UAB Hospital early this morning after the patrol car he was driving overturned on Interstate 20 West, according to Chief Byron Jackson.

No other vehicles were involved, Jackson said, and Alabama State Troopers are investigating.

The officer was released from the hospital about three hours after the crash, which happened near mile-marker 142 just before 2 a.m.

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Indianapolis Indiana Police Chief Paul Ciesielski Steps Down After Evidence Screw Up In Case Of Officer Who Killed One And Injured Others In Drunken Patrol Car Wreck

April 19, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – Who could have imagined that one blood sample would cause so much trouble?

It has raised suspicion about the competence of the city’s police department. It has raised concerns about whether justice can be served. And now — now that this blood sample has been mishandled yet again — it has toppled the chief of police.

Paul Ciesielski resigned Tuesday as chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the same day that Mayor Greg Ballard announced that blood drawn from suspended officer David Bisard had been improperly moved and possibly ruined.

Bisard is awaiting trial in the crash that killed one motorcyclist and injured two others on Aug. 6, 2010. A blood draw that was botched by IMPD had indicated Bisard’s blood-alcohol level was 0.19 when his patrol car hit the motorcycles, which would be well above Indiana’s 0.08 legal threshhold for driving drunk.

“At best, this matter shows gross incompetence; at worst, possible criminal intent,” Ballard said at a news conference with Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub. “I want to express how angry and disgusted I am that this happened.”

The FBI will probe why — despite a judge’s explicit instructions to preserve Bisard’s blood samples for further testing — a second vial was moved from a refrigerated compartment in a property room in the City-County Building to an unrefrigerated area of a backup property room at the IMPD Training Academy, 10th Street and Post Road.

Straub said Ciesielski will remain a captain with the department, but his assignment hasn’t been determined yet.

In addition to the resignation of Ciesielski, who did not return a message left on his cellphone Tuesday, IMPD Deputy Chief of Professional Standards Valerie Cunningham was placed on paid suspension.

Lt. Paula Irwin, who was in charge of the property room, and Teresa Brockbrader, a civilian employee, also have been placed on paid administrative leave.

Deputy Director for Community Affairs Rick Hite was appointed acting chief.

Ballard and Straub stopped short of saying the blood was intentionally tampered with, but its mishandling was met with disbelief by several observers, including Aaron Wells, whose 30-year-old son, Eric Wells, was killed in the crash.

“All of the so-called blunders at the beginning of this case, and a year and a half later to still have them butchering evidence,” Wells said, “it’s absolutely devastating to all of us.”

Following the improper blood draw after the crash, this is now the second time Bisard’s blood has been improperly cared for.

“It is laughable,” said Fran Watson, clinical professor of law at Indiana University’s Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis. “And not in a good way. In a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me way. It’s the Police Department’s job to maintain evidence in a form that it’s admissible.”

Prosecutor Terry Curry said his office discovered that Bisard’s blood had been moved last week when Hawkins granted prosecutors’ request to test the second vial.

At first, Curry said, they weren’t sure whether it simply had been moved to another refrigerated area or whether it was unrefrigerated. Curry said his office confirmed Monday that the blood wasn’t refrigerated.

Still, Curry said the mishandling likely won’t affect prosecutors’ case against Bisard. Storing the blood in an unrefrigerated area means the alcohol content might be compromised, Curry said, but the DNA should still be intact. Testing the second vial was a precaution, he said, and there’s enough blood in the first vial to have an independent lab retest it.

“We are currently working with an independent lab to clarify the implications of testing the blood from the second vial,” Curry said.

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Buffalo New York Police Hight-Speed Chase On City Streets Included Collision With Church Bus That Sent Its Innocent Driver To Hospital

April 4, 2012

BUFFALO, NEW YORK – A Buffalo police officer and a church van driver were taken to Erie County Medical Center following a high-speed car chase that ended when a 15-year-old driver crashed a car into a police cruiser near Manhattan and Shawnee avenues just after noon today.

Police are considering stolen car and other charges against the teen who was taken into custody.

The police officer was listed in stable condition with multiple injuries. The church van driver was being treated at the hospital. Police would not release the names of the two injured or the suspect.

The incident began with a call about a suspicious vehicle moving at a high rate of speed in the Main Street-Depew area late this morning.

Officers stopped the vehicle but the driver sped away and within minutes clipped a church van near Bennett Village Terrace, injuring the van driver.

Minutes later, the chase came to a jarring halt on Manhattan near Shawnee Avenue when the teen driver crashed into a police car, injuring an officer but apparently coming away uninjured himself.

Police spokesmen said officers believe the car was stolen and used in a recent felony crime, which remains part of the investigation.

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Alabama State Police Trooper James Heath Moss Indicted After 120 MPH Wreck In Patrol Car That Killed Innocent Couple

November 21, 2011

ATHENS, ALABAMA – An Alabama state trooper has been formally charged with two counts of criminally negligent homicide in connection with a wreck that killed an Athens couple in April.

A Limestone County grand jury last week indicted James Heath Moss, 30, of Athens. Moss turned himself in on the indictment warrants Sunday, then immediately posted a $10,000 bail.

The trooper was heading to another accident to provide traffic control on the morning of April 25 when he rear-ended the Mitsubishi Mirage in which Jamie Lee Gossett, 31, and his wife, Sarah Rene Gossett, 38, were riding. Their vehicle was pushed into a field and caught fire. They had been on their way to Tanner High School to pickup their daughters when the accident occurred.

Moss was driving at speeds of up to 120 mph in the seconds before the crash, based on information from the car’s information module, said attorney Derek Simpson of the Huntsville law firm Warren & Simpson, who has filed a civil suit on behalf of the administrator of the Jamie Gossett estate.

Moss had continued to work in the office of the state trooper post in Decatur in the months following the accident.

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Floyd County Georgia Police Officer Mark Tanner Killed Woman With Patrol Car

August 15, 2011

FLOYD COUNTY, GEORGIA – A Floyd County police officer was involved in a fatal wreck that killed a
woman on Alabama Highway near Oaknoll Cemetery on Monday.

to police, Floyd County police officer Mark Tanner was responding to a
call heading westbound on Ga. 20 when he came over a rise and struck a
dark colored Saturn.

According to Floyd County Police Department Maj. Mark Wallace, Tanner struck the vehicle in the driver’s side.

driver of the Saturn was pulling out into traffic as she was struck.
Wallace said the female driver of the Saturn was killed.

County Coroner Barry Henderson identified the woman who was killed as
Johnette Regina Elkins, 51, of 30 West Ross St., Rome.

“She was pronounced dead on arrival at Floyd Medical Center by a physician at 5:15 p.m.,” Henderson said.

A child was also taken to the Floyd Medical Center for treatment.

The Georgia State Patrol has been called to investigate the wreck.

Henderson said the body would be sent to the GBI crime lab in Decatur on Tuesday for an autopsy according to procedure.
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