Appellate Division, Fourth Department
Motor Vehicle Accident
Emergency Vehicle — Reckless Driving
Williams v. Fassinger
Appealed from Supreme Court, Onondaga County
Background: The plaintiff commenced an action after her vehicle collided at an intersection with a police vehicle. The parties moved for partial summary judgment and the defendant appealed from the denial of its motion on the ground that it was not entitled to qualified immunity by the Vehicle Traffic Law § 1104 (e).
Ruling: The Appellate Division reversed. The court held that the defendant police officer was responding to a police call and was therefore operating an authorized emergency vehicle while in an emergency operation. Further, the Appellate Division held that by failing to yield the right of way while attempting to execute a left turn at a green light, the defendant officer was engaged in conduct exempted from the rules of the road in Section 1104 (b). Finally, the defendant met its burden by establishing that the police officer did not act recklessly as he stopped for few seconds to ensure that the intersection was clear.
Ann M. Alexander, corporation counsel, for the defendants-appellants-respondents; Eugene W. Lane of Greene & Reid for the plaintiff-respondent-appellant