FOX 29 Investigates: Crashes involving Philadelphia police officers costing taxpayers

Since our FOX 29 Investigates report last month, there have been more accidents, more injuries and some new information on how much these police involved accidents are costing city taxpayers.

READ MORE: FOX 29 Investigates: Crashes involving Philadelphia police officers

As FOX 29's Dave Schratwieser reports the costs reach into the tens of millions of dollars.

October 27, Broad and Pike; October 17th, 52nd and Chestnut; October 13th, Bridge and Tacony Streets. Accidents involving Philadelphia police continue to  pile up and so do the injuries and the costs to taxpayers. 

"We have a responsibility to the city and the people who pay taxes here to make sure we drive this down as much as we can," said Commissioner Richard Ross.

Even Commissioner Richard Ross has said his department has to do more to cut down on crashes after a FOX 29 Investigates report showed hundreds of crashes in the last five years and millions of dollars in damages getting paid by taxpayers.

"In all of these accidents, keep in mind, they're not necessarily the fault of police officers, we certainly have our share," Ross told FOX 29.

Now documents obtained by FOX 29 show the costs to be much higher than the $20 million we first reported. City officials now say when you add in the costs of accident settlements, lawsuits and workers compensation for officers injured in these crashes, the figure topped $53 million dollars over the past five years.

Here's how it breaks down: Damage costs for civilian vehicles involved in accidents with police cost taxpayers over $20 million. Pre-lawsuit settlements made by the city over some of these accidents totaled $529,000 since 2010. Lawsuits filed against police in connection with accidents resulted in over $23 million in pay outs. And workers compensation costs for officers injured in crashes totaled almost $9.5 million dollars.

"We can do better. We need to do better for the safety of all concerned," said Ross.

Ivory Worrell knows the pain from these accidents stretches far beyond the financial loss to taxpayers. She lost her brother Curtis back in September when his motorcycle collided with a police SUV at  Wister and Chelten. The 37-year-old father of three died in the horrific crash.

"I feel like someone should take responsibility for what happened,' said Ivory.

"The video tape shows that the officer went against the red light. We also have multiple witnesses who have testified and come forward and said there was no siren on at the time," said family attorney Donte Mills.

The Worrell family is still awaiting the results of an investigation into the September  accident. The family's attorney's believe something needs to be done to reduce police crashes and the damage left behind.

Police officers involved in accidents are investigated by police accident investigators. Officers can be disciplined and barred from driving depending on investigators' findings. 

"Our officers are retrained after their time is up on the accident, they get a non driving status, then they go back up for training," said John McNesby with the Fraternal Order of Police.

Still without any answers about the crash that took Curtis Worrell's life, the Worrell family wonders what will be done to reduce the crashes and stop these tragedies for police and the public.

"Just basic things or the basic precautions would stop things like fatalities from happening. Just basic things like having a siren on so we can hear you coming," said Ivory.

 

 

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