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City unsure of liability following crash involving OCPD Tahoe

(Aug. 9, 2013) Two victims of last week’s pair of major collisions on Coastal Highway are seriously injured, but still alive, police said this week.

On July 31, a scooter rider heading south on Coastal Highway between 83rd and 84th streets swerved into another lane of traffic and under the rear wheels of a passing box truck. Police believe the rider, who was traveling in the bus lane, was attempting to go around a bicyclist and went too far to the left, entering the right lane of traffic.

The scooter operator was believed to be intoxicated, according to police. His scooter was privately owned and not a rental. The driver of the box truck is not believed to be at fault.

The scene of the accident was particularly grisly, with a pile of bloody clothing being left behind after paramedics removed the operator of the scooter from the road.

“It’s pretty remarkable that he’s pulled through. That’s what we’re being told,” Ocean City Police Department Public Information Officer Mike Levy said this week.

Another crash the day before, on Tuesday, July 30, involved one of the OCPD’s Chevy Tahoe patrol vehicles.

That collision occurred at the intersection of 28th Street and Coastal Highway. An OCPD Tahoe, heading north to respond to another incident, went through the red light and struck the driver’s side of a Lexus sedan that was traveling east-to-west on 28th Street, apparently unaware of the police vehicle’s approach.

The exact speed of the crash is yet unknown, but the impact pushed the sedan into the southbound lane of Coastal Highway and caved in most of the vehicle’s left side.

Off-duty EMS personnel from the Ocean City Fire Department were nearby and rendered immediate aid to the driver. Due to the damage to the vehicle, however, he could not be extracted until the OCFD’s Heavy Rescue unit was able to cut the roof off of the car.

The driver of the sedan was taken to University Shock Trauma in Baltimore with a crushed pelvis.

Most recent word from the city indicates that both that victim and the scooter operator are still in critical condition.

According to city Communication Manager Jessica Waters, the city’s Risk Management division is investigating to determine whether or not the city will accept liability in the incident involving the Tahoe.

According to Levy, the driver of the sedan had the right-of-way. Whether or not the officer’s lights-and-siren response will prevent fault is unknown, he said.

Maryland law is fairly ambiguous on the matter, stating only that emergency vehicles going against traffic signals are expected to make a reasonable effort to watch for other vehicles.

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