Communities in Mourning: July Proves to be a Deadly Month for Philadelphia Area Police Officers

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After a string of fatal hit-and-run accidents involving Philadelphia police officers in July, Philadelphia personal injury lawyers Console & Hollawell P.C. seek to raise awareness of these tragic accidents.

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He has a four-year-old son that's never going to see his father again and do the things that fathers and sons do

Police in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey are in a collective state of mourning after losing a number of fellow officers in just a few short weeks. Three officers from police districts in Philadelphia and Millville – Brian Lorenzo, Christopher Reeves and Marc Brady – have died in traffic-related events since July 8th. A number of other officers have sustained serious injuries ranging from broken bones to lacerations while trying to conduct traffic stops and chase down drunken drivers, according to My Fox Philly. As the summer grinds on, it appears protecting the public from itself has never been more dangerous. Is automotive recklessness reaching an all-time high?

“Distraction is at the root of many accidents that cause injuries,” said Pennsylvania personal injury attorney Richard P. Console Jr. “If you’re not looking at what’s happening on the road, you can’t avoid a dangerous situation. Alcohol is also a factor. Drunk drivers are robbing families of spouses, parents and children. Everyone loses. Restaurants and bars have a legal obligation to monitor their patrons and stop serving them when they appear intoxicated.”

An alleged drunk driver drove the wrong way down I-95 in Philadelphia on July 8, and struck Highway Patrol Officer Brian Lorenzo’s motorcycle head-on. The 23-year veteran died on impact. The alleged drunk driver involved in the crash had reportedly been drinking at a local restaurant before getting on the interstate, according to NBC Philadelphia.

“Look at what this person did, the lives he destroyed,” said Lieutenant Ray Evers of the Philadelphia Police Department. “He [Brian Lorenzo] has a four-year-old son that’s never going to see his father again and do the things that fathers and sons do. He’ll never have that opportunity, which is a tragic thing.”

On the same July day, Millville, New Jersey police officer Christopher Reeves died after a vehicle fleeing from other officers struck his cruiser on the driver’s side. Reeves, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, is survived by his wife and son, according to NBC Philadelphia. About a week later, Officer Marc Brady was killed by a hit-and-run driver as he rode his bicycle through a Philadelphia neighborhood, according to CBS Philly. Lt. Evers stressed the importance of safety and communication between officers to maintain safe conditions on inner-city streets.

“A lot of officers in Philadelphia, when they approach a car they’ll ask for the keys,” said Lt. Evers. “It makes the officer a lot more comfortable if the keys are out of the ignition. It comes down to using your skills as an inner-city officer to read what’s going on. It really comes down to your gut instinct and the training you received in the academy.”

When asked if there are ever routine situations for Philadelphia police officers, Lt. Evers couldn’t think of one, especially in light of recent events. According to Evers, in late July, a 26-year-old officer was dragged for nearly a block while attempting to search a suspect’s vehicle.

“During the car stop, the officer saw the person making some strange movements inside the car,” Lt. Evers said. “He was concerned about a possible weapon or narcotics being concealed…there was a struggle inside the compartment area and the driver had an opportunity to just hit the gas and dragged him. There’s never a routine car stop. Look what happened to this officer.”

In an effort to bring hit-and-run drivers to justice, Console & Hollawell P.C. has partnered with the Hit and Run Rewards Program to create a fund to encourage accident witnesses to come forward. By calling the WeTip Crimeline at 800-644-8678, witnesses can anonymously relay information about hit-and-run accidents. If the information provided leads to arrests and felony convictions, tipsters can receive up to $1,000. Promoting accountability for drivers who act carelessly behind the wheel can only make roadways safer. Console & Hollawell remains dedicated to protecting innocent people from harm. The firm hopes the Hit and Run Rewards Program can be a step towards the larger goal of reducing traffic-related deaths and serious injuries caused by those who would flee rather than accept responsibility.    

In 2011, 41 police officers across the country died in auto crashes and 11 died as pedestrians struck by vehicles, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The number of police killed in the line of duty has increased by 14 percent from 2010. As a car accident lawyer in Philadelphia, Console sees the tragic effects these deaths can have on entire communities.    

“Holding those responsible for these accidents accountable is so important for the entire community,” he stated. “Pursuing them, at the criminal and civil level, will ultimately help promote safety. We can’t continue to lose good men and women to these horrible accidents.”

Console & Hollawell P.C. is a personal injury law firm fighting for hit-and-run accident victims in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The firm’s award-winning attorneys have obtained tens of millions of dollars for accident victims since 1994.

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