Tampa Tribune published an article about a Tampa man who filed a lawsuit claiming that
his car was
rear-ended by a police officer who was
distracted by an electronic device.
According to court records, the driver is alleging that the Tampa police
officer was distracted by a department-issued computer in his vehicle
when he rear-ended the plaintiff.
The plaintiff, Ryan Leiker of Tampa named the city of Tampa as the defendant
in the suit. The suit is stating that Officer Michael Charles Braband
was the at-fault driver in the accident that occurred on Aug. 8, 2012
on Cross Creek Boulevard.
Court records state that Leiker's 2005 Nissan Maxima was westbound
on Cross Creek Boulevard where it had been stopped to make a left turn
into the Cory Lake Professional Center. Leiker's turn signal was blinking
when the Maxima was rear-ended by Braband's patrol car, according
to the lawsuit.
The rear-end collision caused an estimated $10,000 in damage to the police
car according to the accident report and $20,000 in damage to the Nissan
Maxima. After the patrol car struck the Maxima, it went into the eastbound
lane where it struck another vehicle, causing an estimated $10,000 in
damage to the third vehicle, the report said.
The lawsuit said, "Officer Braband was typing on his computer and
not paying attention to the road and caused his police cruiser to strike
Tampa Tribune reported that no citations had been issued according to the online citation
database of the Hillsborough County Clerk's Office. While the accident
report said that Braband had been inattentive at the time of the accident,
there was no mention of the computer in the narrative of the report.
The suit said that Leiker suffered back and neck pain, he is seeking in
excess of $15,000, which is the threshold for a circuit court complaint.
The reprimand noted that Braband was going about 40 mph in a 45 mph zone
when he received a message on his computer. The reprimand letter said
that he looked at the message and when he looked up, he saw the Nissan
stopped and was not able to avoid the crash.
"Officer Braband was not operating his vehicle within departmental
guidelines," said the reprimand. "The crash could have been
prevented and officer Braband was at fault."
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) says that distracted
driving plays a key role in preventable crashes. In 2013, Florida became
the 41st state to make texting while driving a civil offense with violators
facing a penalty of over $100.
Distracted Driving Accidents
Were you involved in a collision with a distracted driver? Aside from speeding
and alcohol, distracted driving is one of the predominant causes of auto
accidents, with texting while driving being the most alarming and prevalent
form of driver distraction.
If you have been injured because a driver was negligently texting, or engaging
in another form of distracted driving, we urge you to contact a Tampa
personal injury attorney from Smith & Stallworth, Attorneys at Law.
We represent accident victims in all types of motor vehicle collisions
and always pursue every possible avenue to help our clients obtain the
maximum compensation available.