Video of Crash of Lufkin Police and Fire Vehicles Released, Officer Reprimanded [WATCH]
The video of the Wednesday incident in which a Lufkin Police cruiser rear-ended a Lufkin Fire Truck was released today. The driver at fault was also reprimanded by the Lufkin Police Department.
The official press release follows:
A rookie officer will be written-up after rear-ending a fire truck amid rainy conditions Wednesday on Frank Avenue.
Officer Zachary Klein was traveling westbound on Frank Avenue, following an ambulance to the hospital per request, when he got behind a fire truck responding to a one-vehicle accident under the overpass. The fire truck slowed approaching the scene to avoid debris in the road. Klein, who was traveling below the speed limit at 28 mph, hit his brakes, but skidded into the back of the truck amid rainy conditions at speeds of 15-20 mph. Because he was able to slow the vehicle, his airbag did not deploy.
“I applied the brakes but realized they were locking up and the vehicle was not slowing down because of the recent rain,” Klein said in a statement to Chief Gerald Williamson about the incident. “I released the brakes and attempted to apply the brakes again. I was unable to stop before striking the rear of the fire truck.”
No one was injured in the crash, which was investigated by Texas Department of Public Safety Trooper Marc Slocum.
Per DPS policy, an officer involved in at-fault, on-duty crash is not ticketed when the officer’s employer takes disciplinary action. Lufkin Police Department has a progressive disciplinary policy that can compromise the officer’s employment status if additional at-fault crashes occur.
Because Klein is still in training, another at-fault crash could end his career with the department, according to Williamson.
“It becomes an issue if he has a pattern of at-fault crashes because that’s a really high liability for agencies,” Williamson said. “If he has issues then it’s one of those deals where we could viewed as negligent for retaining him.”
Williamson said he is thankful no one was injured in the crash and sees this as a learning opportunity.