Officers Shawn Fitzhenry and Jim Dronen responded to a personal injury crash one night last week at an intersection on Cedar Avenue. The officers discovered that a pickup truck had been stopped at the intersection and was waiting at a red light when a van rear ended the stopped pickup and then flipped over and came to rest in an upright position.
The officers found that all three occupants of the two vehicles had suffered non-life threatening injuries and they were transported to the hospital by ambulance. The initial investigation indicated that the driver at fault in the van also showed signs of being impaired and a blood test was requested. The investigation into this traffic crash continues.
BAD ROADS MEAN GREATER RISK FOR FIRST-RESPONDERS
This past week we have had a couple of weather events that left the roadways snow covered and slick, creating hazardous driving conditions for motorists. We did have an increase in the number of calls for vehicles sliding off the roadway and minor traffic crashes through the week, but fortunately we did not have any serious traffic crashes.
One of the major safety challenges for police officers and other rescue personnel, such as fire fighters and paramedics, working at traffic crash scenes during a winter snow event is the traffic coming up to the scene after the crash. Every year across our country, many emergency personnel are injured and some are killed when they are struck by motorists while they are out working on the roadway at traffic crash scenes.
Most times when they arrive on the scene of a traffic crash, our officers will completely close the roadway. This is the preferred and safest option for the officers and the rescue personnel working at the traffic crash scene. Officers will initially use their squads with their emergency lights to protect the area and the oncoming traffic will be delayed or rerouted until the vehicles are towed from the scene and the roadway is cleared. If the roadway will be closed for a long period of time, barricades and flares may be set up and additional officers will direct traffic to other routes.
Occasionally, where multiple lanes of traffic are present, traffic will continue to be routed around the crash scene by an officer using an unaffected lane of traffic. This is when motorists have to be especially focused and alert. It is common for the driver to look over at the crash scene as they drive by and slow down, but drivers should resist this impulse and stay focused on driving. The danger of secondary crashes occurring at the scene increases dramatically when drivers are distracted and don’t realize the traffic in front of them has slowed or stopped.
Every time that you come upon a crash scene, or emergency vehicles stopped on the roadway, make sure that you slow down and remain focused on your driving, for the safety of the all the rescue personnel working at the scene.
WEEKLY LPD SNAPSHOT
Sampling of LPD activity for the week of Feb. 6 to Feb. 12, 2013
Traffic crashes: 29 Alarms: 22 Animal Calls: 15 Medical Emergency Calls: 27 Thefts: 9 Traffic Stops: 145.