Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Reckless endagerment from our supposed protectors

Well the weekend turned into a bit more of a flop then expected after a bit of an unexpected and unwelcome incident on Saturday evening. After touring the Guggenheim Museum a friend and I started riding down 5th Avenue to try and find one of New York’s photography museums. Around 51st and 5th my friend was hit by a car and knocked off her bike. When I came back to where she was I shocked at what I found out.

I was leading the way down the one way street with her following 10 to 20 feet behind me and didn’t realize she was not behind me anymore for a block and a half after the light turned yellow above me and I knew she wouldn’t make it through. I waited by the light for a couple of minutes with no sign of her before I called to see where she was. She said she’d been hit though she was fine and I said I’d be right there. When I rode up to where she was there were a few cops there and some concerned pedestrians looking on and my friend had a decent gash above her right eyebrow. The people there were telling her she needed a couple of stitches and making her stay put and I agreed with them and we waited for the ambulance to get there.

The real shocking part here was that one of the cop cars that was stopped at the scene was actually the car that had hit her, and was a traffic cop at that. (I feel so much safer knowing the traffic cops know how to drive.) Apparently at a red light the cop had been close to the curb so my friend went around on the right of the car before pulling up to the front left near the curb. When the light changed she started up and the car followed and ran into her with the front left side of the bumper. Not sure in this situation the cop had eny opportunity to not see her since she went around his car and directly in his field of vision and the fact that he hit her from behind with the front of his car suggests the same.

I’m pretty sure the police report will be a bit of a write off and any kind of law suit will be hard to follow, especially considering no contact information for any witnesses was taken and well, the guy is a city traffic cop and the city cops filling out the reports know that. The whole thing happened pretty quickly though and we got a slip of paper from the filing officer with a number to call and a report number to receive a copy of the report before they took us and our bikes to the hospital.

My friend has spoken with a lawyer who is very interested in the case and who apparently used to be a messenger in NYC so hopefully he will know exactly how to handle the case, but I have my doubts that there will be much of a chance. Unfortunately with my limited experience with dealing with these kinds of accidents and lawsuits did not think to grab as much information from the scene as possible and the witnesses were gone before we thought to get their information.

Hopefully this works out and something can be done about the whole thing and this cross eyed pissed off looking M’fer of a traffic cop gets at least something on his record. From the sound of it his motives were harmful and overly aggressive towards my friend and from the looks of the guy he was pretty royally pissed while standing around afterwards. While I’ve said this so many times before about other traffic incidents this could easily be chalked up as reckless endangerment, reckless driving and once again the use of a motor vehicle as a weapon. That’s jail time in reality but I’m seeing more of a slap on the wrist and a day off of work at most.

Anyone have any suggestions for how to proceed or anything else they could offer up to help?


Freewheel said...

It's tough taking on the man. He may have some kind of immunity from liability given that he was on duty.

How about the political route? Complain to the mayor's office, city council, police chief, police ombudsman, etc.?

KMAX said...

That's definitely going to be a good possibility. It looks like she's going to try going the legal route first to at least and cover her medical costs and then go from there.

A freind suggested trying to get the lawyer to subpeona the dash cam from the cop car so hopefully that will help our side. We'll see though and I'll definitely be keeping the blog informed.

theboy said...

I hope your friend is doing okay. Did she need stitches?

The whole thing is outrageous.

I don't think there's an immunity issue. There may be a fact dispute created by the typical pattern: your friend telling the truth and the cop lying is what I would expect.

I confess I don't really understand the fact description. Was the cop on the left side of the street?

KMAX said...

Yeah, she is alright but she did have a big gash above her right eye that took 6 or 7 stitches.

I probably wasn't very clear wth my descriptions of the incident here, sorry. The road was like four or five lines of one way traffic and we were riding along the left curb. Surprisingly to me, most of the NYC bike lanes, in Manhattan at least seemed to be in the left lane so we tried to stick to that side while riding on the one way streets.

She had gone around the right side of the cop car at the red light and pulled up to the light back along to the front left. She started as the light was changing green and the cop accelerated at the light change, not allowing room for her (aka driving directly at her) and hit her with the left front of his bumper.

Yeah, I think the fact dispute will be the biggest issue here. Hopefully they'll be able to subpeona a dashboard cam from the cop that shows exactly what happened but we'll have to see.

I think one of the worst things about it is that the cop that hit her was trying to leave the scene of the accident... WTF is that about???