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Policeman Fibs on Traffic Accident
Updated: Wednesday, September 3 2014, 09:52 AM CDT
From KFOX -
EL PASO, Texas – Victims and witnesses of a northeast El Paso collision involving an El Paso Police Department cruiser claim the officer caused the crash, and that police fabricated statements in the accident report to blame an innocent woman.
That woman is named Allyson. Her attorney asked us that we do not use her last name.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve broken down and cried because I’m going up against the Police Department,” she said.
Allyson claims she was heading to drop someone off Friday night when she pulled up to the intersection of Fred Wilson Avenue and Dyer Street.
"The light was red, I had come to a stop, I was only there for about a few seconds and then it turned green and I barely started to accelerate,” she said.
She said that’s when an EPPD cruiser came speeding through a red light, with no sirens or lights, and smashed into her car.
"The thing that I recall is just seeing the police logo right in front of me and of course I had no time to react -- that's just how fast he was going, there were no lights or sirens that even alerted anybody that he was around,” she said. “I hit the driver’s side of the police car, and then it spun out and hit two other cars.”
KFOX14 obtained the police report for the crash. It says investigating officer Leilani Ramos wrote that Allyson was the one who ran the red light. She was cited for that and Ramos gave her a speeding ticket.
“In the police report it’s clearly stated that I was the one who ran the red light and I was the one who was speeding which is completely false, it was the police officer,” Allyson said.
EPPD confirmed the officer involved in the crash is Joshua D. Rucker. He just graduated from the police academy in February of this year.
Rucker was transporting two women to jail in the back of his unit at the time of the crash.
One of those women, who asked to remain anonymous, reached out to KFOX14 social media and said the crash was the fault of the police officer.
In a text statement to reporter Bill Melugin, she stated “The police officer was going up Dyer when he sped up, running red lights, causing another car to run into him,” she said. “The officer was at fault and it would be very wrong if they are trying to charge the other car.”
KFOX14 went to the scene of the crash to look for surveillance videos.
None were found, however, a clerk at a nearby gas station, who didn’t have permission to talk to KFOX14, said she witnessed the crash, and that it was the officer’s fault.
“I just saw the police car coming up with the lights off and then the woman was driving the right way and he just crashed into her,” she said. "I honestly think that it was the cop's fault because he was just going fast and I mean I work here and they're always just going really fast, always with the lights off, I always see them speeding.”
At the time, three people had directly disputed the police version of events, so KFOX14 reached out to EPPD for a response.
An EPPD spokesperson said that they would look into it, but that the drivers of two other cars involved in the crash told the investigator that Allyson was at fault.
Those two drivers were identified in the police report as Nicole Austin and Pedro Medina.
KFOX14 made contact with both of them.
In the police report, the investigator wrote that Medina said Allyson was speeding and caused the multi-car collision, but in a phone call with KFOX14, Medina said he actually never said anything of the sort, and accused police of fabricating his statement.
"In reality, I pulled up to the light going eastbound on Fred Wilson and I had my left blinker on, my light was red, the lights on Fred Wilson were green so all the lights on Dyer were red, and the cop was coming down Dyer, so there's no physical way that cop could've gotten hit if he didn't run the red light,” he said. "To say that I said that the white car was coming at high speed and ran the red light and creamed everybody? That's completely inaccurate cause I never saw the white car until after it hit me."
Medina said he told the investigator all of this, and has no idea how his statements were twisted into something he says he never said to police.
"My opening statement when they asked me, I was like 'yes the cop ran the red light,' and they were like 'well do you think? Are you sure? Did you see?'” he said. "I had my windows down that night. There were no sirens, there was no overhead light , he just blew there, bad timing, bad judgment and it caused this crazy accident.”
When asked again if Medina was confident his statement was fabricated, he replied “Yes, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen it happen.”
Nicole Austin also told KFOX14 the officer was at fault for the crash, and that the police report was a total lie.
Her black Mercedes was totaled in the collision.
"It's very inaccurate, it says I was sitting at a red light and that never happened,” Austin said. “The police officer was definitely at fault, there was no way he could've been crossing or anything like that cause I had a green light, he ran the red light and caused the whole collision.”
EPPD gave KFOX14 another response on Thursday.
“The police report was documented based on the information the reporting officer had at the time,” Sgt. Chris Mears said. “It now appears there is conflicting information between what was told to multiple officers, to include a supervisor, at the scene and what the involved parties are now saying after the fact. Regarding the citation, [Allyson] will have the opportunity to contest the citation in court where she can present evidence in her defense. A traffic accident report merely documents the collision, any culpability is determined later; generally either by mediation between insurance companies or in a court of law.”
KFOX14 asked Mears if Rucker could face any disciplinary action if a court finds him liable, what the EPPD response was to being accused of fabricating a police report, and whether or not a new investigation would have been launched if media hadn’t gotten involved.
“It would inappropriate for me to speculate on possible discipline as discipline decisions are made on a case by-case basis once culpability has been established,” Mears said. “It would not have required media intervention to instigate a second look at the investigation, merely a request or complaint by any party of the collision.”
All those involved in the crash told KFOX14 they want the police to come clean.
“I would love for the police to own up to their mistakes instead of trying to put it all on the other vehicles,” Austin said.
And for Allyson, she feels a sense of relief that the other drivers back up her story.
"I'm just so glad that I have witnesses that can confirm what I experienced, what I saw that night, cause I can only just imagine how they're gonna try to turn this around on me,” she said. "I just want them to admit that they were wrong and take care of all the damages they have done and take care of everybody else that was involved.”