Yesterday afternoon there was a 3-car crash on a straight stretch of Greenwood Road north of Route 120/Charles Road, involving two cars and a squad car running hot.
The initial report in the Northwest Herald indicates that an (apparently) oncoming car (to the squad) stopped and was then rear-ended and pushed into the path of the squad car, which left the roadway and hit a tree.
Just as with the crash in northern Wisconsin in which a deputy died, I'm willing to ask the hard questions right up front. Running "hot" is dangerous, as I recently wrote, and should occur in very selected circumstances. Many times it is necessary and appropriate. Let's see about yesterday.
Toward what time of call was the deputy responding?
How many deputies were responding to that call?
Where was he in the order of distance of deputies from that call?
Was he needed at the call toward which he was driving?
Were other deputies already on the scene at the other call?
What were the traffic congestion conditions on Greenwood Road?
Was there other northbound traffic as well as southbound?
Was he having to run down the center of the road, with drivers in opposite directions pulling over toward or onto narrow shoulders?
Were the two cars involved in the accident with the squad car southbound, with the northbound lane clear?
If the northbound lane was clear for the squad car, why did the driver in the black Pontiac Grand Am stop? THIS IS A MAJOR PROBLEM IN MCHENRY COUNTY! State law requires you to stop only if necessary for an emergency vehicle to pass safely, yet drivers stop when not necessary, creating dangerous traffic conditions!
How abruptly did the driver of the Grand Am stop?
Did the driver of the Grand Am first observe traffic following him to be sure he could stop safely? It's a 55MPH zone there.
Did the driver of the Grand Am activate the 4-way hazard lights on his vehicle?
Was the driver of the Mitsubishi that struck the rear of the Grand Am and pushed it into the path of the squad car following the Grand Am too closely?
For how long a distance had the emergency equipment (lights, siren) of the squad car been in use?
As the deputy approached the oncoming cars, did he observe that the Mitsubishi might be traveling too fast to stop without hitting the Grand Am?
What was the speed of the squad car before the crash?
Was the deputy talking on the radio or on his phone or reading his computer screen?
Did the Grand Am hit the squad car and force it off the road, or did the deputy drive off the road in an attempt to avoid a head-on wreck? (I know what the paper says.)