A police officer in Texas has been given manslaughter charges for what he says was an accident involving a bicyclist. By saying that it is manslaughter, the court is implying that it was not an accident, but that the man ran over the cyclist, whom he was pursuing in his squad car, on purpose.
The whole thing started when the officer and his partner reportedly spotted the man on the bike reaching into a vehicle. Thinking that he was committing a crime, they pursued him. He did not have a helmet on, and he did not have lights on his bike.
Rather than stopping, the bicyclist rode off of the street, into the grass. It was at this point that the squad car slammed into him, causing serious injuries that led to the man’s death. The police did call the emergency services, but they did not do so immediately, waiting a full eight minutes to put the call in. They also did not disclose to those who arrived that the police car had been involved at all.
The officer has argued against the charges, though. He says that it truly was a tragic accident, saying that he simply could not come to a stop fast enough when the bike entered the grass, causing the wreck.
When a cyclist dies in a car accident, the family members need to make sure that they understand all of their rights and legal options. Even if the police are directly involved, as they are in this case, the family may have a right to compensation if the incident is ruled to be a wrongful death.
Source: WFAA, “Former Dallas officer faces manslaughter for fatal accident” Rebecca Lopez, Oct. 31, 2014