Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A freak accident has put a Baltimore City police officer in the hospital. She fell 25 feet off the Jones Falls Expressway.
Derek Valcourt has the latest on the accident investigation and the officer’s condition.
That officer underwent multiple surgeries, including facial reconstruction surgery. She’s had a metal rod placed in her leg, and her pelvis has been fractured. She’s now in recovery but still in critical condition.
Officer Teresa Rigby, 27, is lucky to be alive.
She was trying to help a driver whose car was disabled when an accident caused her to fall 25 feet off the JFX onto concrete below.
Rigby’s car was parked behind the disabled vehicle, which was in the process of being hooked up to a tow truck. Rigby was standing on the right side of the car when police say another car lost control, slamming into the back of the Rigby’s police cruiser which then slammed into the disabled car, which then struck Rigby, propelling her over the jersey wall.
Traffic stops on the elevated highway are a risk police say they’re all too familiar with.
“The JFX is notorious for being a bad stretch of road,” said Baltimore City Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
Scuffs on the JFX’s jersey walls are a testament to the countless accidents there every week.
Part of the danger: some stretches have very little shoulder, which is one reason why many police officers avoid traffic stops there altogether.
Others know when they do have to get out of their cars it can be dangerous.
“When there is an accident on the road, people get attracted by the flashing lights, they want to look at the police cars, they want to look at the ambulances, when they do that they sometimes veer into that scene and this is how tragedies happen,” Guglielmi said.
That’s why Maryland lawmakers recently passed the move-over-law, requiring drivers passing emergency vehicles to move over one lane and slow down.
The penalty for not moving over is $110 and one point on your driver’s license. If a crash results, it’s $150 and three points. And if the accident results in death or serious injury, the fine is $750 and three points.
It’s unclear what charges if any the driver who caused this accident will face. Investigators are looking into whether the driver was distracted, or if weather played a role in the crash.
Police say it appears alcohol was not a factor in the crash.