Dodge City police not running lights and sirens before crash that killed woman

Local

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – The Dodge City Police Department says a police officer responding to a call was not using lights and sirens when he crashed into a vehicle killing a 26-year-old woman.

Vanessa Guzman died after the crash early Saturday at Wyatt Earp near Matt Down Lane. She drove into the path of the DCPD vehicle. The resulting collision rolled her car over a guardrail. She was ejected as the car rolled and died of her injuries.

Officers attempted to provide lifesaving efforts until EMS arrived. The officer involved in the collision was also transported to the hospital for his injuries.

The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. The DCPD says they have not used dash cameras since converting to body-worn cameras in 2016. Police have recovered the officer’s body-worn camera video prior to the crash and have given it to KHP. The DCPD is conducting a parallel internal investigation into the crash pursuant to departmental policy.

Here is the full statement from the Dodge City Police Department:

Our community is reeling over a recent traffic accident that claimed the life of Vanessa Guzman and injured a DCPD officer. Our heartfelt and deepest condolences go out to Ms. Guzman’s family, friends, and loved ones who have been impacted by this tragedy.

The Kansas Highway Patrol is thoroughly investigating this accident with our full cooperation. The DCPD has not used dash cameras since we converted to body-worn cameras in 2016. However, we have recovered the officer’s body-worn camera video prior to the accident and have given it to KHP. The DCPD is conducting a parallel internal investigation into the accident pursuant to departmental policy.

Both investigations will take time to resolve, and we ask the community to have patience and support all of those impacted by this terrible accident. We will continue to be as transparent as possible and release information that doesn’t directly affect the investigation.

We have also met with Guzman family members to allow them to review body-worn camera footage of the accident and ask questions.

The DCPD has a very restrictive policy regarding when officers are authorized to respond as an emergency vehicle with lights and sirens due to the dangers created by driving contrary to traffic laws. The call the officer was responding to is covered under that policy, but each call has many moving parts that can impact the decision to drive with lights and siren. The information being reported and relayed to the officers will be what they depend on to make that assessment. The officers responding to this call had received information while in route that led them to downgrade their response from lights and sirens. At the time of the crash, the officer was still responding to the call but was not responding as an emergency vehicle under lights and sirens.

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