WSP Says Snohomish County Deputy Ran Stop Sign, Caused Victims' Injuries

More Details Emerge Following Pedestrian Accident Involving A Snohomish County Patrol Car: Important Legal Questions Need To Be Answered

UPDATE: April 23, 2015 - KIRO News published a story this morning indicating that the pedestrian who was pinned between the Snohomish County deputy's police cruiser and the pickup truck had to have both of his legs amputated.

According to the article, the 59-year-old Arlington man underwent numerous surgeries at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in an effort to save his legs, but the damage was so severe that they ultimately had to be amputated. 

The article also notes that this information came from friends of the owner of the pickup truck, which was not involved in the original collision but was struck by the deputy's vehicle afterwards. The man was reportedly pinned between the police cruiser and the pickup truck, which can be partially seen in the image below.

The sheriff's office, meanwhile, has remained silent about the incident. It's interesting, and potentially concerning, that information about the victim's injuries is coming through news reports from third-party sources, rather than the sheriff's office. It's possible that the sheriff's office is attempting to avoid admitting liability for the man's injuries, which are obviously quite severe.

ORIGINAL STORY: Apirl 17, 2015 - The Washington State Patrol (WSP) says a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy was at-fault for causing a multi-vehicle crash that injured multiple people in Everett on Friday.

According to news reports, a deputy was driving his patrol car southbound on Rockefeller Avenue when a 2008 Honda Element traveling westbound on 23rd Street struck the driver’s side of the patrol car. That collision pushed the patrol car into a pedestrian, pinning him up against another vehicle.

“There was a pedestrian that was walking, they were injured as well,” said Everett police officer Aaron Snell. “They sustained significant injuries and was transported to Harborview.”

Aside from the pedestrian, four other people were reportedly injured in the crash and taken to a local hospital for treatment. Snell said there were three people, including the deputy, inside of the patrol car at the time of the collision. There was no additional information available regarding their injuries or condition.

WSP Officials Clarify Liability for Crash

It initially appeared as though the driver of the Honda Element would be likely held liable for causing this collision since the police car was already in the intersection when he was struck.

The WSP initially only said that the cause of the crash was a failure to stop at a stop sign, and initial news reports appeared to suggest that the driver of the Honda was to blame. However, there is no traffic signal or stop sign at the intersection of 23rd Street and Rockefeller, and the WSP later elaborated that the deputy ran a stop sign.

This clarification is helpful for the driver of the Honda as well as the injured pedestrian, as both could potentially file a claim for their injuries and other damages against the deputy. All parties involved could potentially benefit from having someone assist with investigating the crash and ensuring that clear liability for all of the victims’ injuries is established as soon as possible.

Snohomish County Police Have A History Of Hitting Pedestrians

In October of last year, a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office deputy driving a patrol car struck a pedestrian with his patrol car.  According to reports, the deputy was driving on state Route 92 near Callow Road early on a Saturday morning when he hit a pedestrian.  The victim was taken to Harborview Medical Center.  Very few details appeared in published reports and nothing is known about the pedestrian’s injuries. 

Important Legal Questions Need To Be Answered

  • Why has the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Office remained silent?  Why have they not made any statements related to the incident? 
  • Was this the same Snohomish County Sheriff’s deputy that struck a pedestrian with his patrol car in Lake Stevens in October of 2014?
  • Why did the deputy fail to stop at the stop sign?
  • Was the officer using his in-vehicle computer at the time of the collision?
  • Was the deputy involved in a pursuit or on his way to an incident?
  • Was the officer distracted in some other way at the time of the crash?
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