Brickbat: Let Off With a Warning


Knoxville, Tennessee, police Officer Cody Klingmann was driving more than 80 mph in a 45 mph zone and not using his lights or sirens when his patrol car slammed into another vehicle, killing Mauricio Luna. Both state law and department policy require officers to use their lights and sirens if they drive faster than the speed limit. Klingmann remains on active duty and the local district attorney has decided not to prosecute Klingmann, saying he was following another officer on a street with very little traffic.

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  1. The very same benefit of the doubt afforded in any vehicular homicide case.

    1. I'm certain that if I had been driving 80 in a 45 and slammed into another car, killing someone, they'd have let me off if I was street racing "following another vehicle on a street with very little (but apparently not zero!) traffic".

      1. Yeah, I was gonna say similar. If I was driving 80 in a 45 and you were following me and slammed into another vehicle, I'd put the odds that they at least issue *me* a citation for speeding pretty close to 1.

      2. Was the leading police car using lights and siren? TFA fades out before the end, so I can't tell. And how close was this accomplice following the first car?

        Perhaps the cars were close enough that the victim was a fool for not seeing the second car, but I doubt it. More likely that the follower was trying to catch up from a block or two behind. Maybe the first car had lights and siren like he was supposed to, the follower figured he didn't need lights and siren, got delayed because a previous potential victim had poked its nose out and delayed the follower, who was now trying to catch up, still without lights and siren.

        1. Doesn't matter. He had lights and sirens and did not use them. Was it too much work? Did he daddy the chief say he didn't have to? I want to know why he felt he did not need to use them.

  2. There was an incident in 2009 where two police officers were drag racing on US 1 (Boston Post Road) between New Haven and Derby Connecticut. They were returning to Derby from a mutual aid call around 2 AM. There was no emergency back in Derby.

    Officer Jason Anderson hit a car making a left turn at an intersection while he was going 94 mph without lights or siren. The double fatality accident was caught on the other car's dashcam. The only mitigating factor was the car turning left was being driven by a 19-year-old who had been drinking.

    It took until January 2013 for the officer to be convicted of two counts of "misconduct with a motor vehicle" and reckless driving. If upheld on appeal, he would be given 3 years of probation. In 2015, the state appeals court ordered a new trial.

    In the end, the officer was sentenced to one year in jail and the city of Derby paid out $6 million from its insurance.

    1. I've got one that's even worse from a neighboring state, though I don't recall the details as precisely as you. In the mid 1990s, a Massachusetts state trooper was travelling west on Route 6 in Westport (a 4 lane, primarily commercial road with many intersections) at midday at around 95 mph with no lights or sirens (not responding to a call, merely in transit) when he struck a car making a left turn who had no way of seeing a car travelling at that speed as there was a bend in the road where the accident occurred. The civilian was rendered a quadriplegic as a result of the accident. Not only did the cop suffer no disciplinary or legal consequences, he also got to retire on that sweet, sweet disability pension. Furthermore, the cop had the gall to sue the civilian driver for negligence. Fortunately, he lost, but the damned case actually went to trial. I do not recall if the other driver had the sense to countersue.

  3. Just a cop killing people. Nothing to see here. Move along.

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