Unidentified Pedestrian Died In Hyde Park Car Accident Involving Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office Vehicle On State Route 9G By Elks Lane
DUTCHESS COUNTY, NEW YORK (September 21, 2021) – A pedestrian has tragically died in a car accident with a Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office vehicle on State Route 9G by Elks Lane in Hyde Park.
Hyde Park authorities are saying that the incident took place around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 16th. A patrol vehicle struck the pedestrian and knocked them to the ground.
An ambulance took the victim to the Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital. Despite the life-saving measures of doctors and medical staff the victim died as a result of their injuries.
The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office deputy remained at the scene and cooperated with authorities. A full investigation into the cause of the deadly Hyde Park accident remains ongoing at this time.
Liability In New York Police Car Accidents
Nearly 300 people are killed every year in accidents involving police pursuits. Many more collisions occur when officers are traveling or responding to an emergency. Car accidents are typically very complex events. Elements that could influence the occurrence of an accident can take place hours, weeks or months prior to any collision. The FMCSA has identified a number of factors that could potentially contribute to a collision including:
- Distracted driving
- Roadway problems
- Driver fatigue
- Brake problems
Determining liability for an accident involving a patrol vehicle can be difficult. According to New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1104(b), the drivers of authorized emergency vehicles are allowed to break numerous regulations regarding speed and right of way laws during an emergency operation. However, police officers are required by section (c) of the statute to use their lights and sirens to warn the public when they are in the middle of an emergency operation. If an officer does not use their lights and sirens, they will typically not enjoy the legal protection provided by section (b) of the statute.
Even if a police officer is using their lights and sirens they must not operate their vehicle with a “reckless disregard” for the safety of others. According to New York Vehicle and Traffic Law 1104(e), “The forgoing provisions shall not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons, nor shall such provisions protect the driver from the consequences of his reckless disregard for the safety of others.” The New York Court of Appeals has held that officers show a “reckless disregard” for the safety of others when they consciously disregard a known grave risk that was likely to result in harm to other people.
When an officer is not responding to any emergency, they must exercise all the due care expected of anyone in a passenger vehicle. According to New York Vehicle & Traffic Law § 1146(a), all drivers must exercise due care to avoid hitting pedestrians and bicyclists. They must also give warning of their presence through the use of their horn when necessary. When an officer fails to exercise due care and hits a pedestrian the department that they work for could potentially be held liable. There are a number of steps that should be taken after any accident with a police vehicle.
- Photos of the accident site should be taken.
- Surveillance footage should be sought. Most patrol vehicles have dash cams that capture what’s ahead of them.
- Eye witnesses should be interviewed.
- Medical records should be preserved. Even in the absence of witnesses, a victim’s injuries can paint a picture of how an accident took place.
The family of any victim that died in a car accident with a Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office vehicle may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. Damages in a civil claim can help cover lost wages, medical bills and funeral costs. Potential beneficiaries in a civil claim may include a victim’s spouse and parents. Sadly, many police departments will fight extremely hard to deny any responsibility for an accident involving their officers. A Hyde Park wrongful death lawyer can examine all of the facts of your case free of cost and let you know what your legal options are.
Investigating A Dutchess County Police Car Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of the victim that died in this Hyde Park police car accident. Any person that may have information about what happened should reach out to investigators. There should be a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of what happened.
This collision also raises many important safety concerns. Was the deputy involved in this crash responding to an emergency? If so, were their lights and sirens on? Could this collision have been prevented? The vast majority of pedestrian accidents can be prevented when drivers scan the road ahead of them and obey traffic regulations. It is our sincere hope that measures are put in place to help prevent additional accidents like this one.