As if Bicycle Accidents were not a big enough problem, a teenage boy was riding his bicycle to school when he was struck by Davie Police Chief, Patrick Lynn.
Frank Conner, 15, was riding his bike to school when he was hit. Lynn was turning right onto Nob Hill Road when he struck Conner, who was in the crosswalk heading south. This type of accident is very common, and is usually caused by a distracted driver who is looking to his left for oncoming traffic while making a right turn.
The police chief was at fault for failure to yield the right of way, but did not receive a ticket.
As reported by The Sun Sentinel, Sandra Levine, the crash victim's sister and legal guardian, was angry.
"I'm a little upset that the chief was at fault in the accident and didn't get a ticket," she said Thursday. "If I would have hit someone, I would have gotten a ticket. So because he's a police chief he doesn't get in trouble?"
Police departments across the country face a similar dilemma when top brass are involved in both serious and minor traffic accidents, said Eugene O'Donnell, a professor with John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.
"This is becoming a very hot topic in the police world," he said. "There is an obvious conflict when an officer from the same department investigates an accident involving one of their colleagues. And it's more difficult when it's the chief who is a party to the accident. That officer gets put in a terribly bad position."
Sandy Hardwick, who witnessed the accident, had the same question.
"Why didn't they give him a ticket?" she said. "Because he's a chief. If it was me, I would have gotten a ticket. If it was you, you would have gotten a ticket. He should be ticketed. The light was red and the bicyclist had the right of way. The kid was hysterical. He was crying, he was shaking."
As a Miami Personal Injury attorney, I cannot remember the last time I saw a police officer or any county employees cited for causing an accident. In fact, in a case we recently concluded, a Metro-Dade bus struck our client while he was riding his bicycle. The video from the bus showed our client being struck by the bus. Incredibly enough the investigatng police officer, also from Dade County concluded my client kicked the bus.
Fortunately, we were able to obtain the video from the bus and resolve the case after filing a lawsuit.