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Crash report says cop blinded by sun

April 24, 2003|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown City Police officer who struck a driver with his police cruiser earlier this month was partly blinded by the afternoon sun when he failed to obey a traffic signal, according to a report provided to The Herald-Mail this week.

No one was injured in the downtown accident, the accident report indicated.

Officer Sean Flanagan could face departmental disciplinary actions as a result of the accident because he was found at fault, Lt. Margaret Kline said Wednesday. However, because it is considered a personnel issue those findings will not be released, she said.

On April 10 at about 5:15 p.m. Flanagan was driving a 2001 Ford Crown Victoria westbound on West Antietam Street when he began turning onto Summit Avenue, the report states. There, he struck a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix driven by Daniel Prescott, 31, of Hagerstown, according to the report.

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The force of the collision pushed the Grand Prix into a utility pole and a building, the accident report states.

The report said Flanagan failed to obey a traffic signal, although it did not explicitly state that Flanagan ran a red light. Kline said she could not comment on that because an accident reconstruction was not performed. The department only reconstructs fatal accidents, she said.

The report said a visual obstruction also contributed to the accident.

"In this case it was sunny," Kline said.

On the day of the accident, Sgt. Fred Wolford said Flanagan was not on a call at the time and did not have his lights or siren on. Wolford prepared the report.

The accident caused $12,000 in damage to the police cruiser, Kline said. The damage estimate for Prescott's car was not available Wednesday because the claim had not been settled, said Caroline Robey, a Hagerstown employee who handles insurance matters.

Staff writer Julie E. Greene contributed to this story.

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