Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Neptune Cop Car Crash Reports On-line

On December 20, 2012, I posted an article that demonstrated how readers could, using publicly available, on-line data, sort and filter that data to identify motor vehicle accidents that met certain, specific criteria.  The criteria used in my article were motor vehicle crashes a) occurring during 2011 in Neptune Township (Monmouth County) and in which b) at least one police vehicle was involved.  In my article, I identified nine motor vehicle crash report numbers that met these criteria.

I recently received redacted versions of the nine crash reports and have placed them on-line here.  Readers may be interested in seeing the details and circumstances surrounding these police car crashes.   

I've made a few observations:
  1. In five of the crashes (Reports 2011-27802, 2011-28768, 2011-15664, 2011-21507 and 2011-18050) it is fairly clear that the police officer was not at fault.  In three of these crashes (Reports 2011-28768, 2011-21507 and 2011-18050), the other driver (i.e. the driver who was not a police officer) was issued at least one motor vehicle summons.
  2. 2011-18052 involved two police cars driven by Ocean Township police officers.  Both Ocean officers, Mark J. Deltin and Matthew R. Guido, were responding to back up Neptune Township officers who were at the scene of a "large fight."  When approaching the scene, Officer Guido "slowed and began to stop" while Officer Deltin, "didn't see [Guido] stopping in front of him," striking him in the rear.  Both officers were transported to the hospital and both police cars were towed away.  Officer Deltin was not issued a motor vehicle summons. 
  3. In three of the crashes (2011-32388, 2011-23592 and 2011-35222), either the officer looked to be at fault or there was a factual dispute between the drivers noted in the report:
  • In 2011-32388, Neptune Township Police Officer Marques J. Alston stuck a civilian's car in the rear.  Alston claimed that the civilian "suddenly changed lanes into his lane and then abruptly stopped" while the civilian reported that he was simply waiting at a red light when Officer Alston struck him in the rear.  Neither driver received a motor vehicle summons.
  • In 2011-22592,  Neptune Township Police Officer Joseph J. Grabas was travelling east on Highway 33 and made a left turn when he was struck by a civilian vehicle travelling in the opposite direction.  Officer Grabas said that he saw the civilian's vehicle "but thought that he had enough time to make the turn."  The civilian said that she was travelling west on Highway 33 when the police vehicle "suddenly turned left in front of her" causing her to strike the police vehicle which "forced her into" another vehicle that was waiting at a stop sign.  None of the three drivers received a motor vehicle summons.
  • In 2011-35222, Asbury Park Police Officer Antonio Martinez was responding to an emergency and, with lights and sirens activated, passed the civilian's car on the left and then made a right turn in front of the civilian's car when impact occurred.  The civilian said that when she saw Officer Martinez's patrol car approaching from the rear, she "pulled to the right side of the road."  She said that Officer Martinez, when executing his right turn in front of her vehicle, struck "her stopped vehicle on the front driver's side."  Officer Martinez, however, claimed that while the civilian initially stopped, she started to pull forward while he was executing his right turn, which caused the collision.  The civilian was issued a summons for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.

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