Washington state couple fined after getting hit by state patrolman’s car
A Washington state patrolman whose car struck two people crossing the street against a do-not-walk sign in December will face no punishment and the injured pair have been fined $112 each after a probe found them at fault, police said on Monday.
Trooper Brian Thompson struck the 31-year-old man and 21-year-old woman as he made a left turn while tracking a speeding car in downtown Bellingham, about 90 miles (145 km) north of Seattle, the Washington State Patrol said.
The pair, who were walking home from a bar in rainy weather at about 1 a.m., had entered the crosswalk against a do-not-walk signal after they did not see any cars approaching, Washington State Patrol spokesman Mark Francis said.
“This was a months-long investigation and we found the main cause of the collision was them walking into the intersection,” Francis said. “But for their actions to have crossed illegally, no one would have been in the intersection when he made the turn.”
The man landed on the hood of the patrol car and rolled off, injuring his leg and neck in the collision, Francis said. The woman was also struck and left bleeding from her head.
The pair were treated by medics and by Thompson, who considered their injuries to be minor at the time, and both refused to be transported for hospital care, Francis said.
After the investigation, they were each issued a ticket carrying a fine of $112 for crossing against the signal, he said.
Thompson, who had been driving 15-20 miles per hour (24-32 kph) when he struck them, will not face any administrative or criminal punishment, Francis said.
The man told an investigator he did not see Thompson use his turn signal, but the woman said he had. The emergency lights on the patrol car were not activated, Francis said.
“Both of us were wrong. He should have seen us, and we shouldn’t have jaywalked,” Lauren Keenan, the woman who was injured, told The Bellingham Herald newspaper. “But we had to suffer pain, we had to suffer injuries, and we had to suffer loss of work.”
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Eric Walsh)