Syracuse Ordered to Pay $157,500 In Police Car Crash

The city of Syracuse has been ordered to pay $157,500 in damages to a woman injured when her vehicle was struck in a James Street intersection by a police car responding to an emergency call.

In a 61-page decision, state Supreme Court Justice John Cherundolo concluded that Syracuse police Officer Brendan Cope acted with “utter and total reckless disregard of the safety of others” in driving through a red light and slamming into the other vehicle at the intersection of James and Catherine streets the afternoon of Nov. 12, 2006.

Cope was en route to a “shots fired’ call with his emergency lights and siren activated when he drove through the red light and struck a vehicle operated by 23-year-old Chalina Ruiz of Syracuse.

Cherundolo found that Cope “clearly” was not familiar with the Syracuse Police Department rules and regulations requiring an officer to be able to see his way clear and come to a complete stop before passing through an intersection on any emergency call.

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