Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

A Boston Criminal Attorney Wonders If A Police Cruiser Hitting And Killing In A Pedestrian With An SUV Is Vehicular Homicide

Now, given my sardonic view on things, it would not surprise you to check out this once-again daily blog one day to find me describing a scene wherein somebody was speeding down the road and, having run down an innocent pedestrian, got out of his car and started pulling on the semi-flattened gentleman, begging him to get up.

Perhaps, I might even compare the driver in such a situation to a child who, after having committed some damage, asks for a “Do-over”.

Of course, you would expect that, by the time the blog was over, you would have heard about the driver being arrested for a myriad of charges, not to mention some kind of vehicular homicide.

Well, guess what?

Such an occurrence actually happened last week…with one twist.

The driver was a police officer.

It was 56-year-old David B., who walked onto Broadway in Chelsea at about 11:15pm on the evening of the 19th. Suddenly, he was struck by a police cruiser, which was a sport utility vehicle. The driver was a Chelsea police officer who had been responding to a call to assist Everett police engaged in a foot chase, according to a statement by Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley.

The District Attorney indicated that the accident remains under investigation by State Police accident reconstruction and crime scene services, along with Chelsea police. He also revealed that the cruiser had its lights and sirens on at the time, the statement said.

Interestingly, law enforcement has not seen fit to reveal how fast the officer had been going. The identity of the officer has also not been revealed. What we are told, however, is that the officer has been placed on administrative leave and was treated for unspecified injuries at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was subsequently released.

Witnesses in the area described hearing the accident and that, after the officer had hit the victim, officers were surrounding him, trying to get him up, saying things like, “Wake up buddy!”.

Unfortunately, “Buddy” was dead.

He had lived in a multi-family apartment building nearby and apparently was a familiar face in the neighborhood. He would regularly sit on the front steps, or would stop at the nearby Tedeschi’s Food Shops store for a corned beef and cheese sandwich. He had lived alone, as his family is from Florida.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

I actually heard about this story on WBZ radio while in the shower. It caught my attention particularly when I heard about the officer running the victim over and then merely hearing about how the officer went to the hospital.

Gene Burns, a radio talk show host who used to be based in Boston, but now is California , often talks about police chase phenomena. As I often listen to his program via the internet, I have heard his frustrations at police chases which are often unnecessary because the alleged perpetrator is easily findable after the fact or is wanted for some petty crime while the cost in life and property for the chase is obscene.

In this case, there are even more reasons for be upset.

First of all, this officer was not even involved in the police chase. The chase was taking place in a neighboring town on foot. That this officer was going to help is laudable…but at what cost? The cost of speeding and driving in an unsafe manner to get to the scene?

If this were you or me…wouldn’t they call that, at the very least, Driving to Endanger and Vehicular Homicide?

You will note that I have referred to “Buddy” as a “victim”. If you are a regular reader to this blog, you know I seldom use that word. I feel it is for the jury to decide. In fact, I alwasy bring a motion before trial to prevent the prosecution from using it for that very reason. However, I am struck in this case by the reverse treatment from other such cases wherein the driver is not a police officer.

In cases in which the driver is not part of the “Thin Blue Line”, the name of the driver is immediately released, along, usually, with his home address. The victim’s name, however, is often withheld. The speed of the vehicle? That allegation is usually released with the identification of the driver.

In this case, however, the information divulged is reversed. We do not know the identity of the driver, nor how fast he was going. It is the victim’s name and address that we have been given.

We are, however, told about the need for the officer to go to the hospital, though.

I wonder why all that is….?

I don’t know if the unnamed officer in this case will be charged or if we will ever be allowed to hear the results of the police investigation.

I do think this, though. Mr. Burns is correct about many of these chases.

I also know this. If it were you or a loved one behind that wheel, your treatment by our protectors would be much different.

May you never be in such a situation. If you ever are, though, get an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you as soon as possible…which may well be as soon as you are released.

From jail…not the hospital, that is.

If you are interested in discussing such a case with me, feel free to make an appointment for a free initial consultation by calling 617-492-3000.

To view the original story upon which today’s blog was based, please go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/08/man_struck_kill.html

Contact Information