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Innocent woman killed in crash after police attempt traffic stop

The family of one Maryland woman killed after a vehicle fled a police stop is likely asking how this could happen. The accident occurred early in the morning on a Tuesday when plain clothed officers in an unmarked vehicle observed a Honda that they believed had engaged in suspicious activity that was criminal in nature. But when the officers attempted to stop the Honda, the driver drove off.

Local officials say that the plain clothed officers then followed the vehicle for a period of time. About four miles later the Honda crashed into a Jeep traveling east at an intersection. The officials did not say whether the officers were actively chasing the vehicle at the time of the collision or whether the officers in pursuit had activated their sirens. The two men in the Honda were killed in the accident along with an innocent woman that was a passenger in the Jeep. The driver of the Jeep was transported to an area hospital in critical condition.

The Baltimore Police Department's pursuit policy prohibits officers from chasing suspects in vehicles except when they fall under "exigent circumstances." That means only if an officer believes that failing to pursue a criminal suspect could lead to injury or death and there is no alternative approach available. At that point officers are required to then get permission from their shift commanders, who monitor the pursuits and can call them off if they perceive a risk to the public. In such an instance officers are also required to notify dispatchers of the pursuit.

If a police officer makes a bad decision or fails to follow the required policy, it can result in personal injury and wrongful death. Victims and grieving family members should contact a Maryland lawyer with litigation experience following a fatal accident to help rebuild their lives.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Three killed in Baltimore crash after police attempt traffic stop," Kevin Rector, Sept. 24, 2013

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