Sumner Police are one car down, after an officer lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree earlier this week, according to Chief John Galle. The officer was uninjured, but the vehicle was totaled. He hit a tree in front of the Vadis organization, on Wood Ave. before it becomes Elm St. E.
“An outside agency will come in and do an accident investigation to determine the officer's speed and cause of the accident,” said Galle. “Roads were wet and the car had studs on it that hadn’t been removed after the snow. We believe that to be a significant, contributing factor.”
Galle said that while the officer will be investigated, it seemed to be a mistake. He declined to name the officer but said he has been with the department for 5 years. He was in the accident while en-route to an incident.
“He’s a good officer and feels really bad about it,” said Galle. “We haven’t had a major accident like this in years, but sometimes we back out or turn too quickly and things happen.”
Galle said that the car, a Crown Victoria, has insurance and was an older model that the department was already looking to replace in the next budget cycle.
Funding for the vehicle would come from insurance on the car and reserve funds the department has for maintenance and equipment replacement. Galle said that a committee will study the issue to find the best deal after insurance determines the payback and decide how the car will be either refurbished or replaced.
“We were already in the process of looking at how to replace that particular car,” said Galle, “but budgets are still tight and it depends on this year or next.”
Galle would like to see the department get an SUV-type vehicle, either a Ford or Chevy Tahoe.
“[Police] cars have to carry a lot of radio equipment, and as much as I believe in economy cars and good gas mileage, we need a bigger car,” said Galle.