Diaz Felipe, of Medford, Died In Holtsville Car Accident Following Police Pursuit By North Ocean Avenue and Expressway Drive South
SUFFOLK COUNTY, NEW YORK (October 23, 2021) – An innocent driver identified as Diaz Felipe has tragically died in a police pursuit near the intersection of North Ocean Avenue and Expressway Drive South.
Holtsville police officials are saying that the accident took place around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 19th. Police officials noticed that a pickup truck had a license plate that matched a stolen vehicle.
Police then pursued a vehicle with lights and sirens. The pickup truck was going southbound on North Ocean Avenue when it crashed into a Honda Civic driven by Diaz Felipe.
Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help the victims. A passenger in the stolen pickup truck was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Despite the best efforts of paramedics and medical staff, Diaz Felipe died due to his injuries. The driver of the stolen pickup is facing a number of charges including reckless driving and fleeing police.
Liability In Holtsville Car Accidents Involving Police Pursuits
It has been estimated that nearly 12,000 people have been killed in accidents involving police pursuits over the last 35 years, according to one report from Slate. Sadly, a large portion of the victims are innocent bystanders that had nothing to do with the pursuit. More tragic still, many of these pursuits involved suspects that committed minor offenses such as petty theft. Every year that goes by, more and more police departments are putting stricter regulations on when a police pursuit may begin and when it should be terminated. Factors that can influence when a police pursuit may begin or end will typically include:
- The risk of the pursuit to the community
- The crime the suspect is wanted for
- Weather conditions
- The area a police pursuit is taking place
As a general rule of thumb, police departments in New York can engage in high speed pursuits in two scenarios: (1) situations where the life or safety of a person is in imminent danger or (2) situations where someone has committed a violent felony. Under New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1104(e), a police department would be liable for the death of someone in a police pursuit if a pursuing officer showed a “reckless disregard” for the safety of others. The appeals court of New York has held that officers operate with “reckless disregard” when they knowingly disregard a grave risk, which was likely to result in harm to others.
Of course, the civilian driver of a vehicle that engages in a high speed attempt to flee the police could be liable for an accident. According to New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1180(b), drivers must operate their vehicle in accordance with the posted maximum speed limits. Drivers that speed and hit other vehicles could be held accountable through a civil claim. If the car involved in an accident was stolen, the owner of the car could potentially be liable for the crash as well.
As a general rule of thumb, the owner of a vehicle will typically not be liable for accidents if their vehicle crashes after being stolen. But there are exceptions to this principle. Pursuant to New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1210, the owner of a car could be liable for their stolen vehicle being involved in an accident if they left the keys in the ignition when the car was stolen. A number of other states have similar provisions. Cars with keys in the ignition are an easy target for thieves. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any car accident.
- Photos of the accident site should be captured.
- Surveillance footage should be sought.
- Medical records should be examined.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
The family of any victim that died in a car accident may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. Damages can help cover lost wages, medical bills and pain and suffering. Potential beneficiaries in a wrongful death claim will typically include a victim’s next of kin. A wrongful death attorney can examine all of the facts of your case and get to the bottom of what contributed to a crash.
Investigating A Holtsville Car Accident Involving Police Pursuits
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of Diaz Felipe. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to police. There needs to be a thorough investigation for the sake of all who have lost so much. Did the officer engaged in this pursuit follow all of their department policies for police pursuits? How long did the pursuit last prior to the fatal collision? Could this tragedy have been prevented? It is our sincere hope that measures will be put in place to help prevent additional tragedies like this.
Do you need more information about an accident that took place in Holtsville? Our team of personal injury attorneys are here to answer any questions that you may have. We care deeply that accident victims get the information and resources that they are entitled to. Whether you just have legal questions or need more information about an accident we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (516) 908-9792.