Serious Officer-Involved Vehicle Wreck

March 15, 2016

Two Lexington County Sheriff’s vehicles collided with each other en route to a burglary call that turned out to be a wild goose chase.

The crash involved two deputies and a reserve deputy. All three were seriously injured, but they are all expected to survive. One witness reported hearing a loud bang, and then seeing “airbags exploded everywhere [along with] debris all over the highway.” George Morton added that he initially believed the wreck was fatal, due to the severity of the property damage. All specific details are being withheld, until the South Carolina Highway Patrol’s Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team releases its findings.

Lexington County Sheriff spokesperson Adam Myrick said the burglary-in-progress call was “unfounded.”

Officer Distracted Driving

As many as a third of officer-involved crashes are the peace officer’s fault, largely because police officers are immune from the cellphone laws and other distracted driving provisions. As a matter of fact, officers are allowed to use laptop computers while driving, so long as they are performing work-related functions.

Use of a portable electronic device, like a laptop or cellphone, is so hazardous because it involves all three kinds of distracted driving:

  • Manual, or taking at least one hand off the wheel;
  • Cognitive, which is drivers who take their minds off the road; and
  • Visual, or taking at least one eye off the road.

Distracted Driving in General

The problem is certainly not limited to police officers. At any given daylight moment, 660,000 Americans are using a handheld electronic device while driving, and that number has not moved significantly since 2010.

Perhaps an even more alarming statistic is that a majority of drivers agree that texting while driving and similar habits are highly dangerous, yet a majority of drivers also admit that they at least occasionally drive while distracted.

The problem is also not limited to cellphones. Some other forms of distracted driving include:

  • Eating while driving;
  • Adjusting the radio or climate control;
  • Talking with passengers; and
  • Looking out the window.

These habits may seem innocuous, and to a large extent, that may be true. But any form of distracted driving dramatically increases braking distance, because in the one or two seconds that a driver’s focus is off the road, the vehicle might travel half the length of a football field before the operator even applies the brakes.

Damages in a distracted driving crash include compensation for both economic losses, like hospital and other medical expenses, and noneconomic losses, like the pain and suffering associated with a physical injury.

An Attorney Committed to Victims

The tens of thousands of distracted drivers cause thousands of crashes. For a free consultation with a Charleston attorney who fights for the compensation you deserve, contact our office. Hospital and home appointments are available.

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