It’s unspeakably tragic: A Perryopolis, Pennsylvania, police officer was killed recently while pursuing a vehicle in Perry Township.
Despite activating his emergency lights, another vehicle turned in front of the officer, Richard Champion, causing a fatal crash.
The driver of the vehicle who allegedly crossed into Champion’s lane of travel was taken to an area hospital, where he was listed in serious condition. Champion became trapped in the patrol car, which caught fire. Several good Samaritans attempted to break the windows but were unable to free him from the wreckage.
The vehicle he was pursuing continued to flee, and the driver is still being sought by police.
Champion, a military veteran, served as an officer with the Perryopolis Police Department for eight months. He is survived by his wife and 16-month-old child.
Being a Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney for quite some time now, I can tell you that sadly, cases of police officers dying in the line of duty are not rare. According to the Fallen Officer Memorial Page, 109 officers have died in the line of duty so far this year, and 25 of those deaths were attributed to automobile accidents.
With that in mind, I thought it would be helpful to reiterate what motorists should do when they encounter a police officer on the road with his emergency lights activated.
If you are being pulled over, you should immediately activate your turn signal, and drive as close as you can to the right berm of the road, where you can stop and safely park your vehicle.
If you aren’t being pulled over, but see that a police officer has activated his emergency lights, it is most prudent to stay out of his or her way. Put on your turn signal, and change lanes to allow the police officer to pass you, when possible.
The same applies to fire trucks and ambulances, as well. Every second counts, whether it’s an emergency or a police officer going after a speeder.
The best advice is to pay attention to what’s going on around you. Don’t have the radio so loud you can’t hear a siren, and don’t let your mind wander so much that you forget to check your mirrors or blow through a light or stop sign. When you hear the sirens or see the flashing lights, move over and stop. You could save a life.
When being charged with committing a crime against a police officer or any other government officer, you will be subjected to a number of harsh penalties. And if you want to reduce such penalties, you should resort to a skilled Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney. Since one of the primary functions of the government is to ensure the safety, order and peace in society, your interference in the legal operations of an officer, misconduct towards a law enforcement official, or causing him a fatal injury will lead to severe repercussions.
Such convictions mean imposition of huge fines, considerable amount of jail time and will hold an obligation to restitute anyone’s honor and reputation that has been affected by your actions. The offense you have committed will be permanently listed on your criminal records and will be public information. This sort of conviction for any crime will have a major impact on your reputation and career and if you receive a felony, you will be subjected to various kinds of limitations. For instance, you will have restrictions on your voting rights or will not have the permission to possess firearms.
If you or anyone you know are facing such charges, you must immediately get in touch with an experienced and skilled criminal defense lawyer for a free consultation so that you can receive the right guidance.
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