So... whose fault is it anyway?

On Tuesday morning, a pair of Irving, Texas police officers crashed into one another as they were both in the midst of pulling over faulty drivers on Highway 183. Thankfully, neither was seriously hurt, however the question remains: what exactly happened?

The riders were stopped on the left shoulder of the highway and both took off, cherries flashing—they were going in. Both had targeted drivers whose day was just about to turn a little sour. The first cop targeted a car in the left lane, closest to them, while the second officer spotted a car two lanes over.

As the first officer proceeded to have his target pull over on the shoulder, the second one smashed into him, sending them both flying off their bikes. Early reports of the incident by the authorities stated a hit-and-run was at fault and caused the two officers to crash. However, footage of the whole event was released and demonstrates no car directly hit any of the bikes. According to the investigation, the exact causes have yet to be determined and more witnesses have to be interrogated. I don’t know for you, but it looks like the cops kinda sorta did that pretty much on their own. 

The images show an uninvolved driver in a black car also traveling in the left lane having to hit the brakes as the car in front of him—one of the two being pulled over—is slowing down to maneuver to the shoulder. As the second driver slows down, the second officer ends up “boxed in” with his colleague at the front proceeding to his own intervention and the black car now right next to him. We can even see him swerve to the right as he probably tries to merge onto the highway, but ends up almost getting hit by the black car. As he swerves back in the shoulders, he rams into the lead bike.

While the scene unfolds rather rapidly and, weirdly enough, almost completely outside of the camera frame, it isn’t exactly hard to understand what happened: the black car didn’t react fast enough and brake hard enough to give the second officer enough space to maneuver—the driver did have a few hundred feet to react and give precedence to the cop.  

The thing I also see is an officer taking off on a highway shoulder during what looks like a pretty busy time, who, yes, has the priority, but should also keep in mind that as a stationary vehicle trying to merge into traffic, he needs to be extra careful. He could have slowed down a bit to give everyone time to react before going after his target. This might have also allowed him to perform an emergency braking maneuver. He was pulling someone over on a highway and unless that person had a kidnapped kid in his back seat and was going to get away, taking a few extra seconds didn't seem critical and could have made a difference.

There was obviously a bit of a chain reaction at play here and pinning the fault on someone can be tricky. It’s also easy to give your two cents sitting here having coffee, watching the video, and not being remotely involved. At least, none of the cops involved were badly hurt and were released from the hospital. 

Sources: CBS, NBC