Police cruiser damaged in parking lot crash
By Cristina Kumka
A Rutland police cruiser is out of commission Wednesday after a late night crash in the Rutland Shopping Plaza.
Sgt. James Tarbell said a 16-year-old with three passengers t-boned the cruiser driven by Officer Ted Washburn at about 10:20 p.m.
The teens had just finished watching a movie at the theater and were in an SUV, heading out of the parking lot to the west back toward the theater entrance.
The teen then struck the cruiser as he was making his way into the primary driving lane in front of the theater.
Washburn said he didn’t see the car coming.
The teen drove his car from the scene after the investigation but the police car suffered extension damage to its front passenger side and wheel.
Tarbell said the only saving grace was that the cruiser was to be coming out of service anyway.
Speed and alcohol were not factors and no charges were filed.
There were no injuries, Tarbell said.
Following the crash, several police swarmed the parking lot, including a state police trooper as protocol calls for that agency to respond whenever a cruiser is involved in a crash, Tarbell said.
Tarbell said neither the teen or the officer saw each other coming.
But, he said, the officer had the right of way and any driver in the primary, or access lane (the plaza’s road spanning Price Chopper to Walmart) has the right of way over anyone driving in the parking lot.
Tarbell said he understands the confusion in the busy plaza.
“The lanes closest to the sidewalk area are the primary access and anything else is considered a parking lot and drivers should use due diligence when traveling there. Vehicles have to yield when coming into the access way that goes around Price Chopper to Walmart,” Tarbell said.