Jeffrey Bates, a Pompano Beach, Florida police officer, allegedly crashed into pedestrian Helen Adams on Wednesday, news sources report. Adams, 46, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital shortly after the collision; she had reportedly been jaywalking at the time of the incident. Police are currently conducting an investigation into the crash. Speed may have played a factor, initial reports indicate; however, there have been no indication of charges thus far. It is unclear whether Adams’s survivors will file for damages.
According to reports, Bates has worked for the Broward County Sherriff’s Office for the last 11 years. Bates is currently assigned to the Pompano Beach district, sources say. He was apparently on duty and in a squad car at the time of the accident.
Reports say the accident occurred at around 3:00 Wednesday morning on North Federal Highway near the border of Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The section of road at the accident site is not well lit and does not have a crosswalk, reports say. Adams and her boyfriend, John Adams, were crossing the street at the time of the incident. John had made it across the southbound lanes, but as Adams was crossing, she was struck by Bates’ cruiser.
The accident occurred within the close proximity of a hospital. However, Adams injuries were considered too life-threatening for a normal facility, and she was rushed to Broward Health North’s trauma center. Sadly, Adams was pronounced dead at the hospital.
John reportedly told detectives that Bates did not have his sirens or emergency lights on, but that he appeared to be speeding when the crash occurred. The speed limit on that portion of Federal Highway is 45 mph, reports say. Detectives are currently investigating this claim.
Each year, thousands of pedestrians are injured on Florida streets. There are a number of factors that lead to these types of accidents, including poor road visibility, failure to yield, and speeding. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 968 pedestrians were injured and 53 were killed in Broward County traffic accidents in 2010.
In other news, Brian Hart of Plant City was arrested Thursday after he was accused of shining a laser beam at a police helicopter, reports say. Hart, 20, was booked into the St. Lucie County Jail on charges stemming from the incident. He was later released on unspecified terms. It is not yet known whether he has acquired legal representation.
According to reports, the incident occurred at around 9:00 Thursday evening. James Adams was piloting the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s helicopter with a pilot in training at the time. Adams reportedly witnessed a green laser beam being aimed at the helicopter; the beam appeared to come from a Dodge pickup headed south on Interstate 95, sources say. Sources say lasers, such as the one Hart reportedly used, can blind pilots and possibly cause a crash.
Police located and stopped the pickup truck on Southwest Gatlin Boulevard. Hart was in the passenger’s seat; he reportedly showed officers the laser and admitted to pointing it at the helicopters. “I explained the hazard of putting a laser light on an aircraft that he could have potentially blinded the pilot and caused the aircraft to crash. Hart apologized and stated that he did not mean any harm, but he had just done something stupid,” an officer reportedly noted in his report.