Cops and Robbers
Q: At night, while driving my patrol vehicle eastbound on an eastbound one-way street, I heard that an armed robber was fleeing the neighborhood. So did another officer; call him O. He drove north on a southbound one-way avenue and turned left onto my street, heading westbound – against the legal direction of traffic. I saw him only seconds before impact and was not able to evade him.
A: In order to encourage O to take calculated risks in order to save life or property and apprehend miscreants, and realizing the many split-second decisions that are made in the field under highly pressured conditions, Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1104 grants O special driving privileges when involved in an emergency operation. These privileges can include running through lights and signs, exceeding the speed limit and disregarding the legal direction of traffic.
However, section 1104 does not entitle O to drive with ‘reckless disregard’. He may not, with conscious indifference to the outcome, intentionally do an act of an unreasonable character in disregard of a known or obvious risk that is so great as to make it highly probable that harm will follow.
Was the danger serious and immediate? Did O’s decision to join the pursuit comply with all departmental rules and regulations? Did O slow down as he turned onto your street? Was he driving within the speed limit? Did he brake hard and veer to the side of the street? Was he using the emergency lights and siren? The more the answer is ‘yes’, the more challenging it will be to prove that O behaved with conscious indifference.
By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial
The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.
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