Woman expresses concerns about investigation into officer-involved car crash

Posted at 6:16 PM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 21:19:03-05

PETERSBURG, Va. -- Whitney Boothe said she was involved in a car crash with a Petersburg Police Officer in early October.

“Had multiple injuries from air bags burning my arm, my wrist,” Boothe said.

According to Boothe, an unmarked police car in front of her pulled over to the right side, so she went to pass the car.

But, she said the car suddenly pulled out to make a U-turn as she passed.

“No signal, no anything,” Boothe said.

The police department report tells a different story saying the officer driving that unmarked car pulled over to search for a wanted pedestrian, and then started to make a left turn.

Petersburg crash

The report said Boothe crossed the center yellow line to pass the officer and that’s when the crash happened.

“As I noticed he was coming around I tried to avoid him so it took me over this yellow line just a little,” Boothe said.

Boothe said she is concerned because the police report shows the officer involved will not face charges, yet whether she will be charged is pending.

She said the accident was not her fault, and she is questioning why the responding officer investigating the incident works for the same department as the officer involved in the crash.

She said she asked for the Virginia State Police to respond, but they never did.

“I would rather an outside agency do the accident report versus someone from the inside,” Boothe said.

State Police Spokesperson Steve Vick says their department was never notified about the crash.

“The State Police is mandated to work state agency vehicle crashes involving their employees we do not have an agreement to work another agency crash,” said Vick. “If a driver requested they (other jurisdiction) are not required to notify us.”

Whitney Boothe

Whitney Boothe

Most police departments we spoke to, including Petersburg, said it’s their policy to investigate any crash in their jurisdiction involving an officer unless there's a fatality.

Richmond Deputy Chief Steve Drew knows nothing about this particular incident, but said it makes sense for departments to respond to incidents involving their own officers.

“I think it’s fair for any citizens to ask that question, but I think it’s also important for them to know we have things put in place to check and double check that, but they can call the supervisor to any scene if they’re unsure,” Drew said.

Lieutenant Sheldon Wills with the Petersburg Police Department said the department will have a senior officer review the crash, and that there is a little gray area as to who is at fault.

He said Boothe was not determined to necessarily be at fault, still Boothe remains nervous.

“I kinda feel the guys from the department will stick together with their guys,” Boothe said.

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