• August 22, 2014

Killeen reader upset after nearly being hit by speeding KPD vehicle

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Posted: Saturday, December 28, 2013 4:30 am

To the Editor:

My family and I were returning home from the movies after midnight on Dec. 27.

We were the only vehicle traveling on West Elms Road when suddenly a vehicle was coming up behind us at a such a high rate of speed, I screamed “he’s going to hit us” as the car advanced closely on our bumper as if it would rear-end us.

After tailing us briefly, the vehicle moved into the left-turn lane and continued its high speed. Fearing that this was a drunk driver, I told my daughter who was driving not to get in the turn lane until the reckless vehicle passed.

As the vehicle sped past, I saw it was KPD Unit 1344. In accordance with the law, the patrol car stopped at the red turn light and proceeded to turn left onto Robinett Road once the signal turned green and then right onto Edgefield Drive.

I was amazed that despite its erratic driving, the patrol car waited at the light, where the two of us were the only vehicles in either direction.

I called KPD to tell them of the incident and received the response “it wasn’t a drunk driver because the car was clearly marked.” Reckless operation of a vehicle, following too close and passing in a turning lane are all against the law for regular citizens. However, for police apparently it’s justified even when the “emergency does not require the patrol car’s lights.”

While I understand that the lights were not on, I do not understand why our lives were put at risk. If my daughter would have proceeded into that turning left lane, we would have collided with the police car and six people, including the officer, could have faced serious to fatal injuries.

Being that we were the only car on the road, the patrol car could have safely passed on the right.

The story of citizens being killed or injured as well as officers en route to calls happens almost every day throughout cities and towns across America. Where does safety begin? After a tragedy? Are there double-standards when it comes to citizens and KPD?

G. Jones

Killeen

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Welcome to the discussion.

38 comments:

  • Bubba posted at 10:02 am on Sat, Jan 11, 2014.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    The report is that the official vehicle rapidly closed on the vehicle in front of it in an aggressive manner and tailgated, then used the turn lane to pass. The only way to do that is if you speeding or the vehicle in front of you is traveling well below the speed limit.

    At night, all you can see in your mirror is headlights. So your assessment about recognition of the vehicle is bogus. Nor is anyone obliged to yield to police vehicles who are not in emergency mode. I certainly don't, and I pass them on the highway as required. But that's just me.

    I imagine the pass in the turn lane seemed aggressive as it probably was.

    Nothing I have read here adequately explains this incident by an official vehicle. Until I read something from the police department, I am not convinced. As for misreading the number on the vehicle, people who are frightened often do not report accurately the numbers they saw.

     
  • Roody2 posted at 2:10 pm on Thu, Jan 9, 2014.

    Roody2 Posts: 237

    "then why didn't the official vehicle yield to traffic in front of it, and fall in behind the vehicle in front of it in the left turn lane?"

    To me it sounded like he did yield when he stayed behind the car for a brief moment before getting into the turning lane. The officer couldn't have known the car in front of him was turning left if they weren't using their turn signal.

    "Why was it necessary to tailgate, then speed past a slower vehicle in the turn lane."

    As far as the tailgating... if the official vehicle was as close as stated by the letter writer, surely they would have noticed way before it passed that it was a police car (front grill/light rack). If I saw a Police car come up that fast I would have pulled over to the right lane (after using my turn signal to let the officer know my intentions) regardless of siren or lights. But, that's just me.

    The "speeding" past in left lane might have just seemed "fast" to the other car because of how "slow" they were going. The official vehicle may not have been "speeding" at all unless by "speeding" they mean "going faster than me."

    It's just speculation and not all things are always as they seem. Since the letter writer couldn't get the number right on the vehicle, perhaps other things they remember are perceived and not factual.

     
  • Bubba posted at 11:35 am on Thu, Jan 9, 2014.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    then why didn't the official vehicle yield to traffic in front of it, and fall in behind the vehicle in front of it in the left turn lane? Why was it necessary to tailate, then spped past a slower vehicle in the turn lane?

     
  • Roody2 posted at 7:25 pm on Wed, Jan 8, 2014.

    Roody2 Posts: 237

    This is what I read in the letter:

    The incident took place on West Elms Rd.
    The passenger (letter writer) instructed the daughter not to get into the turning lane until the speeding car passed.
    As it sped by them she/he saw it was KPD police car #1344
    Both vehicles stopped for a red light at Robinette.
    The letter writer states the police car turned left onto Robinette and then right onto Edgefield.

    I'm not a detective but, West Elms is two lanes in either direction with a center turn lane. The letter writer’s vehicle was in the left lane when the "now known" police car approached (also in the left lane).

    From the information in the letter I gather they were both in the left lane to make a left turn at the light onto Robinette. The letter writer comments that the police car could have passed on the right. Since the police car was turning left, it would have been dangerous for the officer to pass on the right, swing back in front of the letter writer's car and cross over TWO lanes (while braking to make the stop) to get into the left turning lane. This would have been more dangerous than anything described by the letter writer as actually happening. Instead, the officer passed them in the left lane.

    So, I'm going to go out on a limb and say the letter writer’s car was going slow with the intention of getting into the left turn lane therefore the police car seemed to be "coming up fast"

    The police car hesitated behind them to see what they were going to do (because they were slowing down) then passed them in the turning lane possibly at the legal speed limit. (Having been behind a car going far under the speed limit using no brakes and no turning signal to indicate their intentions, I see how that could happen.)

    The letter writer remembers every little detail but gets the number wrong on the side of the car. I say, No accident. Nothing to report!

    Yes, emergency vehicles get into accidents every day in cities across the nation… but how many of those accidents are caused by the fault of the “other” guy!?!?


     
  • Bubba posted at 10:01 am on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    try reading the letter.

     
  • ldaniels247 posted at 9:35 am on Tue, Jan 7, 2014.

    ldaniels247 Posts: 4

    [whistling]

     
  • Bubba posted at 6:56 pm on Mon, Jan 6, 2014.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    If there is a left lane. As clearly stated in the letter, the vehicle used the left-turn-lane in the center of the roadway to pass, implying that there was only one traffic lane. Reading the letter carefully would have sorted this out for you.

     
  • Bubba posted at 6:54 pm on Mon, Jan 6, 2014.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    As clearly stated in the letter, the vehicle was not using lights or siren. As such, your comments are irrelevant. There is no real explanation for the potentially unsafe operation of a police vehicle, which is the point of this letter.

     
  • ldaniels247 posted at 11:36 am on Mon, Jan 6, 2014.

    ldaniels247 Posts: 4

    Remember...Left Lane is For Passing

     
  • ldaniels247 posted at 11:10 am on Mon, Jan 6, 2014.

    ldaniels247 Posts: 4

    What Do You DO when You See Any Emergency Vehicle/ Police/Fire/Ambulance? Answer: You Move Over, to the Right Side of the Road, and Let it Pass. If You're Already in the Right Lane and Vehicle is On top of You, Move to the other side, possibly into a Parking Lot, or Simply Stop where you are, using flashers if you have to, and Let the Emergency Vehicle Safely, Maneuver Around You. You DO Not Chase The Vehicle down the Street, to View it's comings and goings, or Patrol Numbers and License Plates. You DO Not, Compete with The Emergency Vehicle for the Right-Of-Way..it Has that. You Don't Endanger Yourself or Passengers, by Stubbornly Insisting that You Don't have to Move. Drivers have gotten away from this Rule. If that Police Car was rushing to Your House, Because One of Your Neighbors Reported a Fire/Burglary in Progress at Your House, would You Want to be The One, in the Street, Blocking it, Slowing it down to getting to Your House to Secure it? We Have to Get Out of Our "Comfort Zones" and Learn to "Get Along" with Our Civil Servants as well as Other People.

     
  • Bubba posted at 5:58 pm on Thu, Jan 2, 2014.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    Now we're onto something.

     
  • ddrussell1965 posted at 1:04 pm on Thu, Jan 2, 2014.

    ddrussell1965 Posts: 1

    A few years ago I reported something that was never resolved either. It was a high speed chase down Westcliff (towards Rancier) during the same time kids are walking to school. Heading down that road that time of the morning, the sun is blinding. There were easily 6 or 7 police cars at that time. I reported it, and it was to "be investigated". Never heard another word.

     
  • ScottDickson posted at 10:11 am on Thu, Jan 2, 2014.

    ScottDickson Posts: 1

    Mr. or Ms. G. Jones,

    I work for the Killeen Police Department. We do not have a vehicle with the Unit Number "1344". Would you contact me via email at sdickson@killeentexas.gov or via telephone at 254-501-8917? We would like to speak with you so we can address your concerns regarding this matter.

    Sincerely,

    Scott Dickson
    Killeen Police Dept.

     
  • Bubba posted at 9:47 am on Thu, Jan 2, 2014.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    As the driver stated that the turn lane was used to pass, it appears there was only a single lane each direction.

    Regardless of lane numbers, there is no apparent justification for this reckless driving in an official vehicle.

     
  • Roody2 posted at 7:53 am on Thu, Jan 2, 2014.

    Roody2 Posts: 237

    The "screaming" passenger might have been enough for me to wreck the car if I were driving! [smile]

     
  • dano527 posted at 8:34 pm on Wed, Jan 1, 2014.

    dano527 Posts: 2

    Driver said as they were the only car on the road, there was plenty of room to pass on the right.

     
  • Bubba posted at 5:18 pm on Wed, Jan 1, 2014.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    As the driver stated that the turn lane was used to pass, it appears there was only a single lane each direction.

     
  • dano527 posted at 9:55 am on Wed, Jan 1, 2014.

    dano527 Posts: 2

    So you were the only car on the road and were driving in the left lane. Ever hear of keep right except to pass?

     
  • Dr Strangelove posted at 6:20 pm on Tue, Dec 31, 2013.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 413

    I remember it that one it was DPS not KPD. I've never had a problem with KPD got a ticket once for running a stop sign and it was my fault. I was pulled over once carrying showed my CHL and moved on. Never had problem not like the jerk in Temple carrying an AR15 and was arrested for being jerk while carrying. [censored]

     
  • Eliza posted at 12:39 pm on Tue, Dec 31, 2013.

    Eliza Posts: 712

    I believe tomintexas that was in a DPS car, She was in the car willingly though. I believe she was a college student. He supposedly took off on a call.
    Should have never had her in the car to begin with,and never left her there when he got the call.
    It wasn't anyone's fault as far as supervisor or up ,no ones but his.
    He paid got it by losing everything.

     
  • Bubba posted at 8:26 am on Tue, Dec 31, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    I am also trained to drive. I perform this task very well. However, nothing in my training provides me the ability to change the laws of physics.

     
  • barbie500 posted at 8:51 pm on Mon, Dec 30, 2013.

    barbie500 Posts: 131

    That was my thoughts exactly. I think he just wanted to be somewhere fast. I asked him what would happen if a child ran in the street in front of him and he said he was trained to drive.

     
  • tomintexas posted at 10:42 am on Mon, Dec 30, 2013.

    tomintexas Posts: 34

    CAS: Seems that there was an incident - if more than 10 years, time flies - when a lady was killed near Temple while riding in an officer's car. Maybe my memory fails me.

     
  • Bubba posted at 8:12 am on Mon, Dec 30, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    It's never a problem until it happens. Then, the entity that is Killeen is responsible, morally and financially, which Killeen will then learn in court. Since the Luby's shooting, there wasn't one before or since; that doesn't mean we should ignore the possibility, which is what you are doing.

    As for driving well, most Americans do not do so, and that includes police officers. They make mistakes. Having driven around the world, I know this to be true. Not that this is relevant-what they do in their POV is their business-when they get into an official vehicle a protocol takes effect and they must follow it.

    Additionally, I am a member of the Sheriff's Association of Texas, and the Texas State Troopers Association; I support law enforcement.

    Lastly, Do not again tell me what to do, what to think, or say, or believe, or anything else. Do not again attempt to direct my activities in any way, and certainly never again attempt to control my comments on the internet. Save that behavior for those in your life obliged to endure it; I am not on that list, I assure you.

     
  • CAS posted at 7:42 am on Mon, Dec 30, 2013.

    CAS Posts: 2

    Bubba, I can agree with some of your comment but again, I looked up the answer to your question. How many people killed by a police vehicle accident. . In Bell county NONE for well over 10 years and not since DPS did in Belton. Now police officers drive 24 hours a day and haven't killed anyone in that long, I would say they drive very well. . Think about that and stop being one sided.

     
  • Viktor posted at 10:42 pm on Sun, Dec 29, 2013.

    Viktor Posts: 316

    @tomintexas: Lol!
    KPD is plagued by problems. When you have same people in charge closely aligned with city's old boy routines then what else can be expected? There are good folk on KPD too but a rotten apple or two can spoil a whole bunch. Top positions need to be realigned within KPD. Get some new people in charge already.

     
  • Bubba posted at 5:01 pm on Sun, Dec 29, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    Isn't the sheriff an elected position in your county?

     
  • Bubba posted at 4:59 pm on Sun, Dec 29, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    The citizen has a right to post a complaint. Further, as the citizen's tax money supports the police department, the citizen has a right to review their performance, as the citizen is their boss. Further, police officers are charged with serving and protecting citizens, not nearly killing them with reckless behavior in a publicly owned vehicle. Far too many citizens die every year when a police cruiser crushes their car. More directly, I challenge the government of Killeen to investigate this incident and get this citizen an answer to explain the reported conduct of an official vehicle. Perhaps you should think a little bit next time.

     
  • Bubba posted at 4:55 pm on Sun, Dec 29, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    If the officer was in such a hurry, why did he turn around? To stroke his ego? If enroute to a crime scene, why weren't lights flashing?

     
  • Dr Strangelove posted at 9:54 am on Sun, Dec 29, 2013.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 413

    HOOAH! [thumbup]

     
  • CAS posted at 8:34 am on Sun, Dec 29, 2013.

    CAS Posts: 2

    I looked up the law and it clearly states you may use a turn lane as a passing lane if not marked turn only, which Elms does not. I had the police respond to my house because someone was breaking into my house and they came with lights and siren. Guess what, They ran away when they heard the siren so they got away. I think the good cops known this and don't turn on siren. Plus if the do turn on siren you would complain they wake you up at night or claim PTSD. Think before you write another letter to the paper G. Jones. KPD thank you for what you do.

     
  • jbtsr posted at 12:13 pm on Sat, Dec 28, 2013.

    jbtsr Posts: 69

    ...oh yeah, I forgot to mention that when the deputies thought they had their criminal when stopping at my home - they wouldn't go away and were insistent that I was their man. I told them if they were chasing me, my engine would be hot. They felt it and still didn't believe me. I had to wake my wife from her sleep and she had to come out and verify that I infact had been home all evening. They tried to get me to come out to road too - heck no. we had a bit of a stand off and I particularly don't like guns pointed at me. Had I known what I know now, I would've had them on TV and newspaper news.

     
  • jbtsr posted at 12:03 pm on Sat, Dec 28, 2013.

    jbtsr Posts: 69

    I got run off the road one night by bell county deputies chasing a drunk from backway of HH to HWY 1670 and I-35. They came up on my rear end out of no where. Ironically, they drunk swerved around me with precision as he was miles in fron to of the deputies and I thought he was only one. Then a whole bunch of deputies come up on my rear, one almost hits me, I swerve off the road, into a ditch bouncing all over trying not to hit signs and fence. I was shook up. Barney Fife never returned to see whether I was injuredor not. Then another time Barney Fife showed up at my door with Gomer Pile, guns drawn and where going to take me to jail. Apparantly they were chasing a criminal who turned onto my street. My car, parked by the curb looked like the criminals car. Idiots! Not even an apology. And just recent, two deputies botched up a case causing the victim more harm than the criminals. you can see that here: <REMOVED: URLS are a violation of our commenting policy>

    Edited by staff.

     
  • Dr Strangelove posted at 11:50 am on Sat, Dec 28, 2013.

    Dr Strangelove Posts: 413

    Also maybe this lady was a slow poke driver? Also how many people have been ran over killed by a KPD car? We need to look at both sides. Sometimes law enforcement officers are ordered to go to a location as fast as they can with no lights or sirens.

    Or maybe this lady panicked for nothing we don’t know?

    As for double standards well as far as I know that's always been the case in every police department in the United States. In Texas people that work for law enforcement have a code on the computer so when they break the driving laws they're never given a ticket.

     
  • barbie500 posted at 10:47 am on Sat, Dec 28, 2013.

    barbie500 Posts: 131

    About 10 years ago I heard a car whiz by my house, I was in the yard, I yelled slow down and then saw it was a police car. He went up to the corner and turned around and came back, he asked who yelled and I said I did and why was he going so fast with no lights and no siren. He said he was on the way to where a woman was getting the s--- kicked out of her. Then he started asking where I worked and what I drove. I thought it was strange for him to turn around and stop if he was going to a scene and then began to worry about harrasment so I called the police dept. to report it. They said he had no right to do what he did and they would talk to him.

     
  • DawgDave posted at 10:45 am on Sat, Dec 28, 2013.

    DawgDave Posts: 79

    Of course you won't get a decent explanation for the KPD.

     
  • tomintexas posted at 9:51 am on Sat, Dec 28, 2013.

    tomintexas Posts: 34

    Had to be an all-night donut shop somewhere in the area.

     
  • Bubba posted at 8:37 am on Sat, Dec 28, 2013.

    Bubba Posts: 679

    Without lights and sirens, there appears to be no justification for this incident.