A witness to a tragic accident between a recreational vehicle and a police officer along Interstate 65 has stepped forward with some new evidence. The witness says that he was on his way to work when he decided to shoot some video to show his boss that he was going to be late for work because of the slow traffic. That video was taken just seconds after the collision between a large recreational vehicle and a Nashville, Tennessee, police officer. The person shooting the footage was within several yards of the accident when the camera began to take images of the scene.
It is unclear why the Metro police officer was outside of his police cruiser, but he was on foot and standing near a Tennessee Department of Transportation truck when he was struck by the RV. The driver of the RV has always maintained that the accident was unavoidable. The Toledo, Ohio, man told reporters that he was attempting to slow his massive vehicle, which was also towing a trailer, to avoid hitting the officer’s cruiser. The RV driver says that he attempted to go into another lane but noticed that all were blocked. He decided instead to thread his RV between the narrow lane formed by the cruiser and the DOT truck. The officer was killed after the RV entered that tight space.
Investigators say that the video appears to contradict the RV driver’s account of the situation. In particular, they say the video shows traffic around the RV moving a much reduced speed. They question why the RV driver’s speed didn’t also reflect a diminished speed despite the flashing lights, traffic cones and emergency vehicles blocking the lanes. They also downplayed the likelihood that there was a “blind curve” near the accident site, which may have contributed to the RV driver’s ability to see the obstruction further down the road.
Authorities say they will complete their investigation and forward their findings onto the prosecutor in about a week’s time.
Recreational vehicles are large motor homes which normally weigh several times the amount of an average car. Many times the people driving RVs are not very experienced in the operation of larger vehicles. They may misjudge stopping distances or attempt to change lanes without noticing smaller vehicles in their blind spots. Motorists injured by an inexperienced RV driver may be entitled to recover monetary compensation for injuries suffered from a preventable accident.
Source: WRCB 3 Chattanooga, “New video raises questions in death of Metro officer on I-65” Dennis Ferrier, Jun. 06, 2014