Mike a TucsonVelo reader sent a link to this video he shot on a recent ride. I forgot to ask what camera he used. Hopefully he’ll let us know in the comment section.
I spoke with a few Tucson Police Department bike patrol officers and they said TPD likely would not pursue a case against the driver even with video evidence.
According to one of the officers, they would not be able to determine who was driving and wouldn’t be able to issue a citation.
I also posted last week about a driver who nearly hit riders during the Shootout. Dawn Barkman, who is the Public Information Officer for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, suggested the best course of action is to call 911 immediately so that an officer can try to locate the vehicle and driver eliminating the question of who was driving. Here is what she said:
Basically, when (or if) this types of incident occurs, the victim or reportee calls in the complaint to 911. Whatever law enforcement becomes involved will generate a call number which an officer (or deputy) then takes action upon. He/She will begin searching for the suspect or suspect vehicle. If enough information is received, and based upon the call load and the seriousness of the call, the deputy continues to work the call or refers to detectives. I know this sounds vague, but every call is handled on a case by case basis. What we would like to see without ANYONE placing themselves in danger is a good description of the vehicle, a plate number (if at all possible), and possible suspect information. This all helps law enforcement in furthering an investigation.
That policy is something members of the TPBBAC are concerned about. Here is what I wrote in a previous post:
The last piece of information that struck the BAC was the number of hit and runs that are not investigated. Post said that obviously they couldn’t fault the officers for not following up if there isn’t a license plate number or some other identifying piece of information.
But he said the officers aren’t investigating even if there are witnesses and someone got a plate number.
“What we have learned is, unless it is a fatality or it was something really high profile, they are not going to go on a manhunt. They’re just not going to do it,” Post said.
He also said they have been told by officers and lawyers around Tucson, that unless the cyclist can identify the driver they won’t go after the driver. This is what Erik Ryberg was told when one of his clients was hit in the back with a baseball bat.
“Does that mean they (should) get off scott free? No. No,” Post said. “You’ve got the license plate, you know who owns the vehicle. You go out, you knock on the door, you talk to the guy and say, ‘hey, your automobile was seen in a hit and run we see some marks on the automobile.’ You do your investigation.”
“Very often somebody will say, ‘Ohh I didn’t know, or I felt something,’” Post said. Then you start getting confessions out of people and you can start moving forward.”
I plan on pursuing a more in-depth piece about why the majority of the time officers write tickets for stop-sign violations rather than wrong-way riding or three-foot violations.