Coincidentally, or not, we have a second traffic incident from New York recorded on dashcam in which a public officer wrongly supports that a driver violated the law. However, whereas the previous case was only about a ticket, this one was more serious as it involved a crash between a passenger car and a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) van in Queens, New York.
The driver of the passenger Lexus car identified as Ted, wrote what happened and shared the dash-cam video footage on the commercial website Dealspin (…which conveniently, also includes links to dash-cam sales).
In the recording, we see the man driving on the road, when suddenly, just as he reaches the green light, the Customs and Border Protection van appears on his left-hand side with its barely visible warning lights on, but no audible siren. The car T-boned the van, and as a result, it tipped over on its side.
Now, get this; even though we clearly see the green light in the footage, according to Ted, the CBP agents told police officers at the scene that their “van was westbound on Rockaway making a left turn southbound onto Farmers Blvd states thought all Eastbound traffic stopped for vehicle’s turret lights and red light at intersection” (see the report in the picture below). What’s more, Ted claims that the patrol van actually made an illegal turn at the lights.
Here’s an excerpt from Ted’s account of the incident:
“As you can plainly see, I was driving along at a normal pace minding my own business when out of nowhere, a van from the US Border patrol (my luck!) makes a left turn right in front of me, and then BAM!,” said Ted. “It is without a doubt a miracle that no one, not myself nor the half dozen people in the van were seriously hurt, especially considering that I knocked the van over on its side!”
“A few minutes later, as I was on the phone with 911, the driver of the van, a big burly guy in plainclothes, came running over to me with his US Border patrol badge exposed, screaming “Didn’t you see the light? Did you not see the light?””
“When the (real) cops came, the driver further accused me of going through a red light and causing the accident. All the passengers in the Border Patrol van repeated the same line: that I went through a red light.”
“I remained silent the whole time; I was dazed and confused after being knocked around, and I had just been pounded by a few airbags that went off in my car. Furthermore, until I reviewed the video to see what had happened, I did not necessarily want to tell anyone at the scene that I had a video of the accident.”
“After I got home, I uploaded the video, and lo and behold: The light was green! After reviewing the video a few times, I realized exactly what had happened. The US border van had white and blue lights flashing on top of the van, causing the 2 cars in the left and center lanes to stop and let the van make a left turn (which was an illegal left, as you can see in the video). I was in the right lane, so I did not see the flashing lights, because from the driver’s seat, the Border Patrol van was blocked by the other 2 cars. “
“Furthermore, red flashing lights might have caught my attention, but faint white and blue lights in bright sunlight did not give me any indication of an emergency vehicle approaching. Not that the van had any excuse for ramming into me. I spoke to an accident attorney today, and he told me that, even in the event of an emergency, an emergency vehicle must take care and caution while driving, especially when they are doing something improper such as cutting into ongoing traffic. And anyway, what could have been the border patrol emergency? Were Canadians invading JFK?”
“Furthermore, I really resented the fact that on an NYC street, the US Border patrol made such a show of force and acted like they had any jurisdiction. It was very unsettling to be surrounded by a dozen people in badges badgering and harassing me that the accident was my fault, especially when I was completely dazed by what had happened.”
“My Dashcam actually has an extremely wide field of vision, and while watching the video, you, the viewer, are paying close attention. But at the time it happened to me, it was in a second or less, and I really did not and could not recall exactly what had happened. It was all a giant blur.”
“If not for my Dashcam, I would have been made to feel guilty for causing this accident, and my insurance would have found me at fault. With this video, it is clear as day (it was a clear day, no pun intended) that I was just driving along with the flow of traffic, and the van made an absolutely illegal turn!” wrote Ted.
By John Halas
Story References: Dealspin