In the last two weeks, two 5th District Police patrol cars have been involved in two separate collisions on different days, on same Germantown road, while responding to emergency calls.
The latest collision occurred just yesterday, Thursday morning, Sept. 13 at the intersection of Father Hurley Blvd. and Crystal Rock Drive in Germantown. According to 5th District Commander, Capt. Mark Plazinski, officers were responding to a call when a motorist struck the patrol car as it made the turn from Crystal Rock Drive onto Father Hurley Blvd.
The officer’s car was responding with light and sirens to an emergency and was struck as it made the turn coming from Crystal Rock Drive by a vehicle headed south of Father Hurley Blvd. It was sent across the lanes of traffic and up and embankment, stopping just as it reached the trees at the top of the hill.
Plazinski said that one of his officers was involved in a similar incident which occurred in the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 1 at the intersection of Father Hurley Blvd. and Middlebrook Road when the vehicle was T-boned by a vehicle on Father Hurley Blvd. as the officer attempted to clear the intersection.
“Officers were responding with lights and sirens, and the driver of the vehicle stopped for the first patrol car, but didn’t see or except the second car and hit it in the side of the car,” said Plazinski.
He said that in both incidents the officers suffered only minor injuries and no charges were brought against either driver. “When you hear the sirens, drivers have to understand that that sound doesn’t travel as far as they may think. If you hear it, the emergency vehicle is close by, and they tend to be like deer — when you see one in the road there or often two or three more behind. Emergency vehicles often travel in packs,” said Plazinski.
“Here we have back-to-back accidents which happen to have very similar circumstances,” he said. “Our officers are out there on the roads driving 10 to 12 hours each day. These officers commute to work, and they drive in any weather conditions. No matter what the weather is like this weekend, they will be out driving around going call to call.”
Plazinski said the Montgomery County Police Department investigates all incidents involving police vehicles. “Our goal is to make these accidents occur less and less. In both of these cases, the officer was found to have been not at fault. The department will look at each case, such as this and determine, not only was the officer at fault but could they have taken steps to avoid this collision. Both of these cases, it was found that the officers could not have done anything to prevent the collisions.”
Caption: A 5th District Police cruiser ended up an embankment after being struck by a vehicle in the intersection of Father Hurley Blvd. and Crystal Rock Drive on Thursday. It was the second such collision involving a police car in two weeks.
Photo courtesy Meg Guessford.