It was a clear July morning and two Rutland, Massachusetts police officers were walking across Main Street in a marked crosswalk. The approaching Ford Explorer had plenty of time to stop for the pedestrians. Instead, it was almost a tragedy.
The alert police officers jumped away from the oncoming vehicle just in time, or else they would have been run down. The distracted driver was texting.
Ironically, the incident happed in front of the Rutland Police Headquarters. The officers, Detective Chris Giglio and Patrolman Travis McCauley, ran to their nearby cruisers and pursued the vehicle, pulling it over a short distance away.
A video surveillance system installed at the Rutland Police Headquarters by American Alarm captured the incident. The video clip of the officers jumping out of the way of the vehicle was released to the media and helped draw national attention to the major and growing problem of motor vehicle accidents, personal injuries and fatalities caused by drivers distracted while texting.
In a written statement, Rutland Police Chief Donald Haapakoski said he was “relieved by the fact that his officers were not injured” and that he “hopes the surveillance video footage raises driver awareness.”
According to a media release issued by the Rutland Police Department, “The operator of the vehicle, whom admitted to texting with her phone at or about the time she nearly struck the officers in the crosswalk, was cited for violation of MGL Chapter 89 Section 11 due to the failure to yield the right of way to pedestrians in a marked crosswalk – a violation that carries with it a $200 fine.”
For some of the media coverage of the incident see: