RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — Within four weeks, four officer-involved crashes in metro Richmond have injured several people, and two of the collisions left three people dead.
Families of officers sworn to protect and serve, and loved ones of injured civilians continue to grapple with sudden loss in Henrico and in Richmond.
Henrico Officer Trey Sutton died at a local hospital after the police cruiser he drove on March 30 was t-boned on the passenger side by a pickup truck, critically injuring Officer Greg Petrohovich and a person in custody within the cruiser.
An 18 and 19-year-old were ejected from their vehicle in Richmond’s Southside on April 7 after colliding with a Richmond police cruiser at the Bells and Castlewood roads intersection.
Two days after Ruffin’s death, Richmond Police Chief Gerald Smith responded in a statement, expressing condolences, and said, “we will follow wherever the investigation leads us. We want our community to know we are entering the final stages of the investigation.”
While not fatal, a three-vehicle crash Friday evening in Richmond sent a man and a police officer to the hospital after colliding at Chamberlayne and Laburnum Avenues.
A woman was charged with a DUI after crashing into a Henrico Police cruiser Monday, April 25. Nobody was seriously injured in the crash.
The FBI says crashes are “one of the leading causes of law enforcement line-of-duty deaths,” according to a 2021 article detailing circumstances surrounding the occurrence.
While all crashes are under a microscope, 8News Legal Analyst Russ Stone said police crashes may be treated differently.
“When you are in a situation where you know that you, yourself, might be the target of an investigation, you’re going to be more careful,” Stone said, adding, “I would certainly suspect if they believe there’s a possibility that there was wrongdoing on the part of their own officer, they would probably want to bring another agency.”
Chief Smith said the department will soon turn over its findings to the city’s top prosecutor, after the recent double-fatal crash.
Henrico Officer Petrohovich and the person in the officers’ custody at the time of the crash continue to fight for their lives. It is unknown when authorities will detail the circumstances leading up to the crash.