City police officer injured in car accident

Department, family give differing accounts over use of lights and sirens

July 22, 2004|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore police officer was injured yesterday when his patrol car and another car collided at the intersection of Harford Road and East 32nd Street near Clifton Park. The force of the collision sent the patrol car crashing into a streetlight.

Officer William H. Nave Jr., 28, who is assigned to the Northeastern District, was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was treated for a broken arm and possible concussion, said Detective Donny Moses, a police spokesman.

The driver of the other car, Ruth Roach, 67, of Armistead Gardens, and her two passengers - her husband, Frank Roach, 71, and daughter Ruthie Jones, 45 - were taken to Union Memorial Hospital.

Police officials and relatives of the family in the other car gave differing accounts over whether the officer was using his lights and siren.

Relatives who arrived on the scene shortly after the 5:43 p.m. accident said Ruthie Jones told them that the squad car's lights and sirens were not on when it entered the intersection.

Michael Roach, 43, said his sister used a cell phone to alert the family that the three had been involved in an accident.

"They said they didn't see any lights," Michael Roach said, adding that the three were on their way home from Union Memorial, where his father had been scheduled to have laser eye surgery that was then postponed.

"They were freaking out," Michael Roach said, describing his family's reaction to the accident, which shut down traffic on Harford Road between St. Lo Drive and Erdman Avenue for about an hour.

Moses said Nave - who was responding to a call for back-up involving fleeing armed suspects, one of whom was later caught - had his lights and sirens on. Witnesses told police that Nave brought his car to a complete stop before he entered the intersection, Moses said.

Police are investigating the accident, Moses said, adding that it was too early to say who was at fault.

Nave has been a member of the Police Department for three years.

Witnesses said the sound of the two vehicles smacking into each other was frightening.

Ashley Rager, 20, of Hamilton said she was walking home with her 1-month-old infant, Gracie, when the accident occurred.

"All I could do was cry and ask someone to help him," Rager said about Nave. "His car was wrapped around the pole."

The accident was the second major one involving a city police officer in the past four days.

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