Posted on May 20th, 2013 No comments
May 19, 2013 ~ 3:30a, Phoenix police officer Daryl Raetz was killed while “processing a DUI suspect near 51st and Cambridge avenues when he was struck by a green Ford Expedition, which then fled the scene”. azcentral.com. The story doesn’t give much detail, I would assume from what was presented he was a pedestrian.
The suspect vehicle, found later abandoned by Surprise PD, was a large, raised SUV green/gray Ford Expedition with fog lights and oversize rims.
Police work is dangerous
Although it seems obvious that police work is dangerous because there are bad guys with guns trying to kill them; roughly the same number of policeman killed in the line of duty die as the result of a traffic collision than by being shot (or stabbed). The Officer Down Memorial Page lists and categorizes all law enforcement deaths in the line of duty across the US. The exact numbers, of course, float around from year-to-year; in 2012 there were 52 gun/knife deaths (54 if you include 2 from accidental gunfire), and 48 traffic deaths (21 automobile “accident” 5 motorcycle “accident”, 6 struck by vehicle, 5 Vehicle pursuit, 11 vehicle assault — usually dui’s).
Just a couple of weeks ago on May 6, 2013 Arizona DPS officer Tim Huffman was killed when a semi-truck inexplicably slammed into his parked cruiser on I-8, on the scene of a previous collision. This was despite all sorts of flashing lights (there were numerous units on the scene for the prior crash), cones, and waving arms. The yumasun reported DPS arrested Jorge Espinoza a few days later on 2nd degree murder and a string of endangerment-type charges associated with the crash. They were mum on what factors might have been involved (impairment?). 2nd degree murder normally indicates impairment.
Posted on May 17th, 2013 No comments
A Phoenix police officer was injured in a collision with red-light-runner at Sweetwater and 43rd Ave. The red-light-runner was described only as “elderly”. As a result of the collision, both vehicles careened out of control up and over the sidewalks, one striking a tree and another a wall. Although there were three fairly minor injuries, it appears serious injury (or fatality) was only avoided by a stroke of luck that no one was walking there. How often do cars drive up over the sidewalk?
azcentral.com news report:
A car reportedly ran a red light and slammed into a Phoenix police SUV, leaving the officer and two others injured Thursday morning, according to authorities. The police SUV was heading east on Sweetwater Avenue about 9:30 a.m., said Lt. Ben Leuschner of the Phoenix Police Department. The car, with an elderly couple inside, was going south on 43rd Avenue. The car ran a red light and slammed into the police SUV, according to police. The car ended up hitting a wall and the police SUV was pushed off the side of the road. All three people had to be extricated from their vehicles. The officer’s injuries weren’t considered serious. The conditions of the people in the car weren’t immediately available.
I don’t know anything about that area of town, however, I will comment that Sweetwater looks like a nice calm road, whereas 43rd Ave is a standard city of Phoenix car-sewer.
Tragedies just keep on coming
… A few days later on May 19th, Phoenix police officer Daryl Raetz was killed while “processing a DUI suspect near 51st and Cambridge avenues when he was struck by a green Ford Expedition, which then fled the scene”. azcentral.com. The story doesn’t give much detail, i would assume from what was presented he was a pedestrian.
Posted on May 6th, 2013 No comments
On April 3, 2013, bicyclist Edward Brennan, 57, was struck from behind by SUV whose driver fled the scene. Brennan was injured, seriously from the sounds of it. [trivalleycentral.com] The vehicle’s mirror was left on the scene and was identified as a 2003-2006 Ford Expedition. On a hunch that the driver might use the same route around the same time, police staked out the area and arrested Thomas Cole Wuertz, 22, suspicion of leaving the scene of an injury accident. [trivalleycentral.com]
Case lookup reveals a number of traffic charges against the youthful suspect over the past few years; including a reckless driving charge in 2010 in Florence-Coolidge Justice court TR-20100451, to which he plead guilty.
Hooray for the Casa Grande Police Department for following up and using good, old-fashioned police work to locate the suspect vehicle. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on April 30th, 2013 No comments
Yikes — head on collision with multiple life-threatening injuries to the children, whom police said were all properly restrained.
It was a glorious late-April morning in Phoenix, the sun had been up for just an hour, the kids were all buckled in… seriously, how often does stuff like this happen happen? By the way, neither of the vehicles involved were remarkable, the victim was driving a Pontiac G6 and the suspect was driving a Mitsubishi Galant; both mid-sized sedans in the 3,000 pound weight range.
The collision occurred on Southern Avenue near 38th St, Southern Avenue is typical of the Phoenix Metro area’s many, fine, wide, straight, multi-laned, high-speed arterial streets (appears to be posted 45mph); they work really well except when drivers bump into one another, or a ped, or a a cyclist; and then people get seriously injured or die. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on April 29th, 2013 No comments
I’m collecting this here mostly for completeness; this is the case involving the death of motorized bicyclist, Craig Lewis, 47. The perp is Samantha Baldwin, 23. Lewis was struck from behind while riding on the shoulder along W. Ajo Highway near Soledad Ave around 1 a.m. on May 19, 2012. Thanks to tucsonvelo.com for their coverage
http://tucsonvelo.com/news/cyclist-killed-in-crash-on-ajo-highway-driver-and-passenger-arrested/13317 Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on April 21st, 2013 No comments
The AAA puts out a report on the costs of operating a car each year, and are always fun… figure a ballpark of 60 cents a mile. It’s been my experience that car owners are in consistent denial, other than chronic moaning about the price of fuel, about the high costs of automobility. (and fuel ends up being only about 1/4th of the overall cost). And these costs only represent direct costs; socialized costs (pollution, policing, mayhem, free and subsidized parking, various non-fuel taxes, etc) are not even attempted to be measured here.
“A new AAA reports shows, on average, the cost of driving 15,000 miles a year rose 1.17 cents to 60.8 cents per mile, or $9,122 per year. Overall, that’s a roughly 2% increase on the cost of operating a car last year.” usatoday
Posted on April 14th, 2013 No comments
A motorist makes a bad left at intersection, striking oncoming motorcyclist.
Had this been a bicyclist-MV collision, it would be a crash type 212 – Motorist Left Turn—Opposite Direction, commonly called a “left hook”. This is a relatively uncommon fatal crash type, just 12 of 617 bicyclist fatalities nationwide in 2010 according to FARS. One supposes that the relative speeds involved make this far more likely to be deadly for motorcyclists than for bicyclists.
One wonders how the police handle such cases; from the description, it appears the motorist should be cited for 28-772 making a bad left, and charged with 28-672. since a death resulted.
Motorcyclist killed after crash in Phoenix A motorcyclist died after a car crashed into him and caused his bike to catch fire on Wednesday afternoon. 20-year-old Angelo Wright was riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle near Cave Creek and Union Hills Roads. Police say an 84-year-old woman was trying to make a left turn, failed to yield to Wright and crashed her Volkswagen into him. Wright fell onto the ground and the motorcycle caught fire. Wright was taken to a hospital where he later died. Officers say he wasn’t wearing a helmet.
Posted on April 6th, 2013 1 comment
So this is pretty weird. I don’t know how any of this is supposed to work — but it occurs to me that County Attorney Voyles could have sent this to a neutral party (another county) for disposition, and that would have avoided any appearance of impropriety. As it stands, Voyles had a clear conflict-of-interest; and he decided it in favor of his interests. Voyles description of the deputy’s actions (‘patrolling’ at ~ 100mph?) as “an acceptable investigating patrolling activity” is quite bold, and troubling. They don’t call it “criminal speeding” (see 28-701.02) for nothing, well I mean reasonable people call it that, I don’t know how Voyles (or the deputy) rationalizes it. The victim’s (that is to say, the guy that died; the deputy was seriously injured) actions were certainly also negligent — he was very drunk, and made a bad left — but that certainly doesn’t absolve Steele of all responsibility for the collision. In any event, this is going to be very expensive for Pinal county taxpayers.
The Pinal County Attorney’s Office won’t prosecute a sheriff’s deputy who was involved in a fatal, on-duty crash last year, despite a recommendation from Arizona Department of Public Safety investigators that he be charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
County Attorney Lando Voyles, who defeated James Walsh last year after a campaign marked by accusations that Walsh didn’t prosecute cases recommended by law enforcement, said Friday that his office “focused on the prospective occurrence, rather than (taking) a hindsight perspective” in deciding whether to charge Deputy Robert Steele in the Aug. 30 incident.
Voyles ran on a “Law and Order” ticket with Sheriff Paul Babeu.
According to the DPS report, Steele was traveling nearly 100 mph on U.S. 60 when his patrol car collided with a truck that had turned left in front of him at about 9:40 p.m. Jeffrey Sorenson was killed, and Steele was seriously injured. A driver who was 8 months pregnant received minor injuries when she sideswiped the patrol car.
Steele was not responding to a call, his lights and sirens were not activated and investigators determined he never applied his brakes. The Sheriff’s Office did not respond to a request for comment.
Sorenson’s family has filed a $4 million notice of claim with the county.
An analysis revealed Sorenson’s blood-alcohol content was 0.23, nearly three times the legal limit of 0.08.
“Our review looked at the case from the perspective of an acceptable investigating patrolling activity at the time of the accident and then the results of the accident,” Voyles said in a prepared statement. “We did not look at the results of the accident and then, decide after the tragedy whether the patrolling activity was illegal.
“Based on that view, this office refuses to criminalize the officer’s patrolling activity. It is not clear that if the officer had been traveling at 65 mph that this accident would not have occurred, since there was an impaired driver of more than 3 times the legal limit, who was not wearing a seatbelt.“
Posted on April 4th, 2013 No comments
Not to put too fine a point on it, but drivers who flee tend to have been doing something wrong. For example, in examining all cyclist fatalities in 2009, 6 were killed in collisions with drivers who fled these scene. 4 of those 6 were found to be impaired and were convicted of manslaughter. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on April 4th, 2013 No comments
“Police Chief Michael Frazier said the program brought in about $150,900 for the city since it began in May 2010. However, it cost the city $340,700 to run the program over that same period — a $189,800 deficit“ Surprise won’t renew contract with photo-enforcement company
When photo-enforcement makes money; detractors say that that proves that “it’s only about the money”. When it costs money and the program gets canceled we are told by the detractors that this just double proves that it’s only about money.