Police officers have a duty to keep innocent drivers on the streets safe

By: Darrell Castle

Police departments all across Shelby and Desoto County have guidelines and policies in place to minimize the danger to innocent drivers on the roads during police pursuits and chases.

“The position that ‘we always get our man’ does not justify the death or maiming of innocent people,” the Bartlett Police Department’s high-speed pursuit policy states.

However, with high speeds, traffic build-up and an occasional override of the law, tragedies on the roads do happen and innocent drivers are hurt, or sometimes killed, by a police officer.

That’s what happened this past week when a 63 and 49 year-old were killed after their car collided with a police car in Bartlett.

There’s currently some “he said, she said” among witnesses as to whether the cop was speeding or whether his lights and sirens were on or not. The Tennessee Highway Patrol is currently investigating the accident.

However, these are the kinds of incidents that can happen when guidelines and policies are either not sufficient enough to keep innocent people on the streets safe, or if the guidelines and policies aren’t followed.

It’s tough to be a police officer, so I do sympathize with them. They have a dangerous job and as much as they’re criticized when they make mistakes, they’re the first people we call when we have an emergency.

And often, the car accident is not a result of a high-speed chase, but rather a genuine emergency – like a robbery – where lives are in danger, so the officer approaches in high-speed without turning his or her siren on.

However, these officers have a duty to keep the innocent drivers on the street safe, and that’s evident by the Bartlett Police Department’s policy above. So, if you’re injured in a car accident, or if your loved one is killed in a car accident, and it’s the police officer’s fault – or seems like it – then that officer should be held accountable.

The best way for you to hold that officer accountable is to speak to an experienced car accident attorney immediately. You shouldn’t be liable for paying those expensive medical bills – you should be compensated for them, as well as pain, suffering, wages lost from time off work and more. An experienced attorney will look at the case detail by detail, find the liability and determine if you should receive compensation and how much.

At Darrell Castle & Associates, we’ve represented many people injured in collisions with police cars, including a few pedestrians!

When is it reasonable for a driver with his or her radio on to not hear the siren, so therefore not react? That’s one question that will need to be answered.


Since people are accustomed to interacting with cars going approximately the same speed as them, is it reasonable for them to panic and over-react when a police car going twice as fast rushes towards them? That’s another question that will need to be answered.

You need an attorney you can trust – one who’ll walk and talk you through every step of the process. My firm has received multiple Client Distinction Awards from Martindale-Hubbel for client satisfaction, so I can assure you that you’re in good hands here.

Call (901) 327-1212 today to schedule a FREE case evaluation with an experienced attorney, or fill out one of the contact forms on this page to have one contact you!