WASHINGTON - FOX 5 is continuing to push for answers after D.C. police officials say officers totaled two patrols cars when they decided to drag race with the government vehicles on Thursday. The officers have not yet been ticketed or charged with reckless driving, according to a police spokesperson.
Two defense attorneys told FOX 5 it is unsual that the drivers, police officers, were not at least given a ticket after the crash which ended with four officers taken to the hospital suffering from non life-threatening injuries.
The crash happened Thursday evening about 5:30 at Anacostia Avenue and Polk Street, Northeast, where sources tell FOX 5 the patrol cars were going at least 60 mph where the speed limit is 25 mph.
David Benowitz, partner at law firm Price Benowitz LLP, says the incident may rise to a criminal charge of aggravated reckless driving.
"Given that the district commander has already issued a statement saying that it was drag racing, I'm assuming that that came from more than witness statements. That it came from the officers themselves. Now again obviously I have not interviewed the officers, but if the officers have admitted to that then I think they've admitted to aggravated reckless driving," Benowitz said.
Reckless driving is defined in D.C. law as operating a vehicle "in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger a person or property." It can rise to aggravated reckless driving if one or more of the following elements are met: there is bodily injury, the driver is going more than 30 mph over the speed limit or property damage results in excess of $1000.
A police spokesperson told FOX 5 investigators do not believe the officers were impaired.
When asked if the officers have not been ticketed or charged yet and if they're being given special treatment, officials did not directly respond.
A random sampling of recent reckless driving reports from D.C. police daily crime logs in the sixth and seventh districts showed that in all three cases, drivers were not only charged with reckless driving, but they were arrested and processed at district stations.
Police officials say the officers involved are also subject to an internal affairs investigation and in the meantime, have had their police duties suspended while in a non-contact role.