sheriff cruiser hits taxi

Brent Finnegan -- November 11th, 2006

Friday was a bad day for traffic accidents in the city.

I wouldn’t normally post about this sort of thing, but Friday night around 10:30 I witnessed a county sheriff’s cruiser flying southbound on South High, siren on, lights flashing. Seconds later I heard a loud crack one block away. When I walked up a block (near Taste of Thai) police and firefighters were arriving on the scene. Apparently (according to several neighbors who heard/saw the wreck) the cruiser T-boned a Yellow Cab taxi that was backing out onto South High, pushing it about 20 feet into a tree on the opposite side of the road. I spoke to another taxi driver on the scene, and he said the taxi driver’s name was Wayne. When I saw the cruiser just seconds before, I’d estimate it was traveling at around 50 mph. The odd thing is–there are no visible skid marks, and folks in that neighborhood heard no screeching breaks before the impact.

UPDATE: Although I’m still not seeing anything about this in the news, I am told that the taxi driver is recovering and should be fine. The sheriff’s office is releasing no information at this time (Confirmed: taxi driver and sheriff have both been treated and released).

Also, WSVA and the DNR reported a fatal motorcycle crash near Devon Lane and Port Road earlier in the afternoon on Friday.

Of course, for some residents, the cruiser-taxi wreck may bring to mind the story of the HPD cruiser that landed in an apartment building during a high speed chase earlier this year. It again raises the issue: how fast should police travel in the city?

-finnegan

10 Responses to “sheriff cruiser hits taxi”

  1. linz says:

    Having witnessed some of the events surrounding the crash last night, I am very surprised to see nothing about it in the local news. It brought out a lot of emergency vehicles and they were there late into the night. Any speculation as to why it hasn’t been reported on yet?

    And yes, it also reminded me of the cruiser landing in the apartment building. I’m torn because it’s obviously unsafe for emergency vehicles to go that fast in the more populated areas of the city, but if I was the person who needed them, I’d say that every minute counts (but of course not at the expense of others).

  2. finnegan says:

    Yeah, I’m not necessarily proposing that they shouldn’t be able to drive 55 in a 35, I’m just saying it raises the question again.

    I find that a lot of times, when things happen on Friday or Saturday night after 9, stories often go unreported until Monday. Also, there is no Sunday edition of the DNR.

  3. maryloohoo says:

    I saw the fatal motorcycle accident on 3 but nothing about a cruiser wreck.

  4. maryloohoo says:

    Ahh…it was on 3…guess we’ll see it tomorrow’s DNR

  5. finnegan says:

    Woah. Speaking of 3, they’re reporting a plane crash near Mt Jackson. No details yet.

    I wonder if it was a commercial jet or a single engine plane.

  6. maryloohoo says:

    I’m sure it’s a double decker whisper jet, honey. Did you witenss the plane crash too? Where’s my update?

  7. finnegan says:

    I might be offended if your comments made any sense. At all.

    As for the sheriff cruiser-taxi wreck, I’m still not seeing anything in the DNR about it. I want to know how it happened. Somehow I doubt the taxi driver was at fault.

  8. ali2bfd says:

    I haven’t shared before on here, but being as I know persons involved in this I must speak a bit. I am quite certain a deputy has lights and sirens on and a cab backs out in front of him, it is the cab’s fault, regardless of how fast the deputy was driving. There is a small piece of coverage on WHSV’s website now, with a small video included (it’s titled Officer Crash). There are many huge differences between that accident Friday night and the incident occurring on Rockingham Drive last year. A five lane highway such as South High Street at 10:30 pm can be safely driven at a higher rate of speed by law enforcement officers (who are trained to drive under such conditions); where I would be more concerned with the ones traveling at high rates of speed on the small one lane streets with cars parked on either side of the roadway (such as Wolfe St for example). But as Linz says, if you are the victim of a crime greater than a simple larceny or vandalism (ie. Rape, Aggravated Assault) you may want that deputy to push the pedal a little and get to you in 5 minutes rather than 10. Those minutes save lives.

  9. finnegan says:

    Thanks for your respectful contribution to this discussion, ali. I agree that the response time for 911 calls should be as fast as possible, but since I live in the neighborhood where this happened, I can’t help but think, “That could have been me instead of the cab.”

    I seriously doubt any police/sheriff policy will change as a result of this wreck, but I do hope that everyone (both officers and citizens) remember this, and drive more carefully and are more aware and alert.

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