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Baltimore officer critically injured in car accident

Baltimore authorities are continuing to investigate a serious car accident that sent a 27-year-old police officer to Maryland Shock Trauma Center with severe injuries, including multiple fractures to her legs.

Last October, Maryland created a new 'move over' law that was meant to address precisely the type of accident that severely injured the 27-year-old officer on Tuesday. Motorists are now required to either move over or slow down when passing emergency vehicles with flashing lights.

The officer, responding to a disabled vehicle call, had parked her cruiser on the side of the elevated Jones Falls Expressway. Parking her cruiser behind the disabled vehicle, she watched a tow truck driver hook up the disabled vehicle. As she was trained to do, she stood on the passenger side of her cruiser and in between the disable vehicle and her cruiser.

At about 9:20 a.m., a Saab collided with the back of the officer's cruiser, forcing the officer off the elevated expressway and 30 feet down to the parking lot of Pepsi plant below. It is unclear if one of the vehicles directly hit her, or if she fell after jumping out of the way of the crash.

The stretch of road is known to be dangerous. In fact, many officers hesitate when pulling speeding motorists over on that stretch of the Jones Falls Expressway because it is too dangerous to stop on the stretch of the elevated highway with its curves and narrow lanes.

The officer will have a long road to recovery after this serious accident, and she has undergone surgery more than once due to her injuries. She remains in critical condition. A Baltimore Police spokesman has said doctors put a rod in her leg, that she suffered a fractured pelvis, and that she was undergoing facial reconstruction surgery.

In serious accidents like this one, it is common to see both criminal charges and personal injury lawsuits for damages filed against a driver. Law enforcement authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of accident, but have not released the name of the driver of the Saab.

Sources: Officer.com, "Baltimore Officer Undergoes Surgery After Fall," Liz F. Kay, Julie Baughman and Justin Fenton, 6/23/2011

The Baltimore Sun, "Baltimore police officer thrown off I-83, critically injured," Justin Fenton and Liz F. Kay, 6/21/2011

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