It is the responsibility of the South Carolina Highway Patrol to safeguard the lives of the state’s citizens. This may mean discontinuing a pursuit when it becomes too dangerous. However, sometimes knowing when it has become too dangerous is not an easy call to make. Troopers could come under scrutiny in a recent car accident, which caused the death of a passenger in an SUV that slammed into a trooper who had gone through a red light during a pursuit.
The trooper’s vehicle was one of two involved in the pursuit. The first patrol car made it through the intersection without incident, but the second one did not. The driver of the SUV ended up being taken into custody and faces charges for failing to yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle and felony DUI. The driver of the car that was originally being pursued got away, but he later turned himself in to law enforcement. He faces charges for not stopping for police, which led to a death.
Reportedly, the SUV driver’s traffic light was green at the time of the crash. The details of the pursuit will need to be scrutinized to determine whether the trooper followed proper pursuit protocols. Law enforcement officials are not afforded the right to drive through red traffic signals without first checking whether their path is clear.
The family of the deceased passenger in this tragic car accident may file a wrongful death claim against the driver of the vehicle being pursued, the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the officer involved, and the driver of the SUV. If the court is satisfied that negligence on behalf of any of these parties has been proved, an award of damages may be considered. Moreover, the court will determine what percentage of liability will be attributed to each party found to be negligent.
Source: wyff4.com, “SCHP releases dashcam video in fatal trooper-involved wreck“, Carla Field, Jan. 8, 2015
Steven Krause is a personal injury, auto accident, and workers’ compensation lawyer who practices in Anderson, SC. He graduated form the Thomas M. Cooley School of Law and has been practicing law for 40 years now. Steven Krause believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience here.