QUESTION OF FACT WHETHER OFFICER DEMONSTRATED RECKLESS DISREGARD FOR THE SAFETY OF OTHERS IN HIGH-SPEED PURSUIT.
The Second Department determined the county’s motion for summary judgment in an action stemming from a high-speed police pursuit was properly denied. Before the pursued car went through a red light and collided with plaintiff’s decedent, there were several similar close calls as the pursuit proceeded through a residential neighborhood:
” The manner in which a police officer operated his or her vehicle in responding to an emergency may form the basis of civil liability to an injured third party if the officer acted in reckless disregard for the safety of others'” … . ” The reckless disregard’ standard requires proof that the officer intentionally committed an act of an unreasonable character in disregard of a known or obvious risk that was so great as to make it highly probable that harm would follow'” … .
In this case, the County defendants, in moving for summary judgment, failed to establish, prima facie, that [the officer] did not act in reckless disregard for the safety of others in commencing, conducting, or failing to terminate the high-speed pursuit of [the] vehicle … . Among other things, there are triable issues of fact as to what occurred just moments before the accident and as to whether [the officer] pursued [the vehicle] in a manner that prevented [the pursued driver] from stopping for fear of a collision with [the officer’s] police vehicle. Furthermore, considering the testimony indicating that the pursuit was conducted at high speeds in a residential neighborhood, that [the pursued driver] disobeyed several traffic control devices, and that collisions with other cars at earlier intersections were narrowly avoided, there are triable issues of fact as to whether [the officer] should have terminated the pursuit. … . Foster v Suffolk County Police Dept., 2016 NY Slip Op 01639, 2nd Dept 3-9-16
NEGLIGENCE (POLICE HIGH-SPEED PURSUIT, QUESTION OF FACT RE: RECKLESS DISREGARD FOR SAFETY)/MUNICIPAL LAW (POLICE HIGH-SPEED PURSUIT, QUESTION OF FACT RE: RECKLESS DISREGARD FOR SAFETY)/POLICE (POLICE HIGH-SPEED PURSUIT, QUESTION OF FACT RE: RECKLESS DISREGARD FOR SAFETY)/VEHICLE AND TRAFFIC LAW (POLICE HIGH-SPEED PURSUIT, QUESTION OF FACT RE: RECKLESS DISREGARD FOR SAFETY)