People in New York expect that others will drive with caution, especially those who are driving emergency vehicles. However, that was not the case when a former fire chief crashed a fire department sport utility vehicle into one woman's car.
The car accident happened in June 2007. According to reports, the former fire chief was driving to another accident at around 60 mph. Reports indicate that he passed another firefighter's vehicle. A 59-year-old New York woman had a green light and began moving through an intersection when the fire department SUV crashed into her Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. The woman says she never heard any sirens.
Although the former fire chief was not injured, the woman suffered injuries to her neck. She wasn't able to do certain activities and also had trouble sleeping.
Recently, a jury ordered the former fire chief, as well as the town where the accident occurred, to pay the woman $825,000 for the injuries she suffered in the crash.
"I think justice was done," the woman's attorney said. "I think the most important lesson is that first responders, no matter how noble their intentions, are still required to exercise care in responding to an emergency."
Although New York state law allows emergency vehicles to run red lights and to drive above the speed limit, they cannot put other people or property in danger. The jury in this case found that the former fire chief was negligent and put other drivers in danger. When people drive recklessly and cause harm to others, they should be held responsible.
Source: The Journal News, "Harrison woman awarded $825G in crash with volunteer firefighter," Ned P. Rauch, April 17, 2012