When people think of law enforcement officers dying in the line of duty, their thoughts more than likely gravitate toward shootings and/or fights — especially considering recent tragedies across the country. Most people probably do not think about a police officer being killed in an auto accident. However, that is exactly what happened recently here in Louisiana.
Three local police officers were conducting a traffic stop about two miles from Louisiana Highway 134 on U.S. Highway 165 sometime prior to 5 a.m. on the day before Independence Day. As interviews were being conducted near the parked patrol cars, a vehicle was approaching the scene. It veered over the fog line and slammed into one of the officers and then the other two. The officer who was struck first died at the scene. The other two officers were taken to an area hospital for injuries that were not considered to be life threatening.
The 44-year-old driver of the car that struck the Sterlington officers is suspected of being impaired at the time of the crash. Troopers arrested him at the scene. He faces several charges, including vehicular homicide and negligent injuring by vehicle.
The family of the deceased officer and the two surviving officers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits in the aftermath of this alcohol-related auto accident. It might also be possible to recover damages in a third-party claim filed against the suspected drunk driver. Each of the parties will need to evaluate the circumstances and determine what course of action will best serve each officer and their families, including the deceased officer’s family.
Source: arklatexhomepage.com, “One policeman dies, 2 injured in crash”, Nancy Cook, July 3, 2016