An Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper determined that none of the drivers in a three-car crash in April were at fault amid conflicting accounts over whether the Thatcher Police officer involved had his emergency lights on.
According to a DPS report released Wednesday, the trooper was asked to investigate a non-injury crash at U.S. Highway 70 and Third Avenue around 9 p.m. April 30.
One of the drivers told the trooper she stopped on Third Avenue facing north to wait for the light. When the light turned, she saw a police vehicle with its emergency lights on go through the intersection heading east on Highway 70. After it went through, she pulled out and hit a second patrol car also heading east.
According to the report, she said she didn’t think the second police vehicle had its lights on.
The patrol officer told the trooper his emergency lights were on and he was unable to avoid the collision. His car was hit on the right side and he spun into the back of a third car going west on the highway.
According to the report, the driver of the third car said she saw several police cars with their emergency lights on traveling east and she was pulling over to the shoulder when the officer’s car was struck and then hit her vehicle.
The trooper noted in his report that the first two vehicles sustained “extensive” damage of more than $1,000 each; the third car just had minor damage.
In the “violations/behavior” portion of his report, the trooper checked the “no improper action” box for all three drivers.
He determined the woman who struck the police car was traveling about 7 mph in a 35 mph zone and the officer was traveling 45 mph.
The day after the crash, Thatcher Police Chief Shaffen Woods said his officers were responding to back up a third officer who was investigating a report about a motorist brandishing a firearm at another motorist.
Earlier this week, Woods said via email he could not comment on the collision “due to legal advice.”