Occasionally, people on New Orleans area roadways might see a police car parked on the side or shoulder of the road, while an officer conducts a traffic stop, or even tends to an auto accident. When this happens, Louisiana law requires that other drivers must yield to the parked police vehicle by either moving to another lane or slowing to a safe passing speed. But, like all other traffic laws, not all drivers always adhere to this requirement.
Recently, a member of the New Orleans Police Department lost her life in a car crash when another vehicle plowed into her police cruiser. The officer was parked on Interstate 10 while responding to an existing car accident. While she was still in the police cruiser, another car struck the vehicle, and the officer suffered traumatic brain injuries. The officer was rushed to the hospital where she died from the injuries.
According to the NOPD, flares surrounded the original accident scene to which the deceased officer was responding. Officers suspect that the driver who hit the police car was drunk at the time of the accident. Police arrested the 33-year-old man, who will face criminal charges for the fatal accident.
In addition to criminal charges, drunk drivers who cause accidents that injure or kill other people can face civil liability for the accident-related damages. Victims and their families should not have to bear the financial burdens of an accident that a negligent or reckless driver caused.
Police officers in New Orleans have a dangerous job, but that doesn't mean that other people are absolved of liability when their actions injure an officer. In this case and in others like it, no amount of money can bring back the deceased victim. However, compensation through legal action can help their loved ones pick up the pieces after such a tragedy and try to move forward.
Source: The Times-Picayune, "NOPD officer Natasha Hunter dies of injuries from I-10 crash," June 7, 2016