This morning I went in my power wheelchair to the Downtown Farmers Market. After purchasing beets, squash, zinnias and gladiolas, I headed home. About 11:25 a.m. I was sitting in the bike path headed east at a red light at the intersection of Water and Townsend Streets when there was a major explosive KABAM as two cars struck.
I looked up and saw that the light on Water Street was still red. A Syracuse Police Department patrol car coming down Water Street headed west had just run the red light. There were no lights, sirens, high speed or any other indication that the SPD patrol car was responding to an emergency.
The patrol car had struck a black four-door sedan that was traveling north on Townsend Street. It spun the car around 180 degrees, The driver—a middle-aged, overweight, balding man wearing a white shirt and black pants—got out and went over to the patrol car. When the driver turned back toward his car, a badge and gun were visible at his waistband.
The patrol car driver moved his vehicle over to the curb. Almost immediately, another patrol car arrived from the north on Townsend Street. This second patrol car pushed the black car out of the intersection, then someone picked up most of the debris from the middle of the intersection.
Yesterday I saw a report on the Malaysian jetliner site in the Ukraine where they were lamenting the absence of any independent forensic researchers and the fact that pieces of debris were being removed from the crash site, thereby making it impossible to piece together the facts of what had happened.
What happened at the corner of Townsend and Water Streets this morning will depend entirely on the verbal reports of the two men involved.
And, of course, the innocent bysitter, me.
When I left the scene, two uniformed police officers, the fellow with the badge and gun, and two other men were standing in a group talking. There did not appear to be any personal injury. On the black car, the front and back passenger-side doors were both crushed in. Parts of a fender, some grillwork and other material had been in the intersection.
Imagine if the police officer who ran the red light had hit a car driven by your mother.
Later the Post-Standard, following my lead, reported that the patrol officer in the marked car was driving distracted–he was on his computer–and was not ticketed. There was no personal injury; the patrol car was still drivable; the unmarked car was seriously damaged and had to be towed.