The Stockton Police Department has concluded its investigation of an auto accident involving two police patrol cars that were responding to a call for backup.
Officer Richard Van Over was found to have improperly run a red light, without first checking for clear traffic, according to the report released on Wednesday, February 4, 2009, when his car accident occurred with the police car driven by Officer Daniel Gatto. Van Over and Gatto were each speeding at the time of the police chase auto accident, and after the collision, each car careened into other cars before catching on fire.
Van Over was knocked unconscious and trapped inside his fiery car. Three Good Samaritans rescued him from the car accident by acting quickly to extinguish the flames from the auto wreck.
Both officers were severely injured, and neither has returned to active police duty since the car accident. Gatto is expected to return soon, but Van Over’s return is uncertain as he has been partially paralyzed.
Our car accident attorneys know this is also a great concern for us. California police officers in most situation are given immunity while responding to a call according to Vehicle Code §170047. If they are not properly trained or are making mistakes when speeding in their patrol cars, innocent people stand a great risk for a car accident or wrongful death accident and will receive no compensation as a result.
“His road to recovery is going to be long and difficult,” said Assistant Police Chief Blair Ulring.
This auto accident and another police car accident — that occurred a year before between a Stockton police car and an ambulance — has caused Stockton P.D. to take a close look at its training.
“We identified that as an issue and felt it was significant enough to make some immediate training,” Ulring said. “It certainly is of great concern.”
Officer Van Over has a long road ahead of him for recovery, and it was all due to an unfortunate mistake on his own part.
What happens when an innocent civilian is the one stuck traveling that road?
Call us now at 1-800-655-6585 or click here for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney after you get into a car accident and find out how we can help you. We speak English and Spanish, and we look forward to providing advice for your case. No fee if no recovery.