Cops: Eagle County deputy drove without insurance
Glenwood Springs Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
CARBONDALE, Colorado ” Karen and Glen Niemeyer are angry that an Eagle County Sheriff’s Deputy who rear-ended Karen’s Jeep in Carbondale last month had no insurance at the time of the accident and wasn’t cited with careless driving.
But Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling said a regular citizen wouldn’t have gotten a careless driving ticket in the same situation. Schilling said his department cited Lawson on Thursday for failing to have valid insurance, and that the citation came after the Niemeyers, who live in Rifle, gave police an insurance company letter on early last week.
A copy of the letter states that Lawson’s policy lapsed for nonpayment on Feb. 11. Lawson apparently presented the expired insurance card at the scene and believed it was valid.
“(Lawson) was treated just like anyone else,” Schilling said. “If they show us a valid insurance card and the vehicle shows it’s insured in the state system, we figure they’re valid.”
Schilling said Officer Luke Blue, who responded to the accident, has investigated 26 accidents in the past year and has only issued two citations.
Carbondale police don’t normally cite people for careless driving, Schilling said, adding the department is “a little less enforcement oriented” and doesn’t automatically give people citations when they’re involved in accidents.
According to a police report, Lawson admitted running into the Jeep with his white Dodge truck on Feb. 21 at Village Road and Highway 133. Lawson told Blue that he didn’t notice the vehicles ahead of him were slowing down quickly, and he was unable to stop in time to avoid the collision, Blue’s report says. Blue recommended Niemeyer take an ambulance ride to the hospital but she declined.
Niemeyer, a housekeeper, said in an interview she was stopped at a red light and her Jeep was totaled and had a bent frame. She said an emergency room doctor told her she got minor tissue damage, a concussion and some whiplash.
The Niemeyers said they don’t yet know how much medical bills and damage will cost, and they haven’t heard from Lawson since the accident. Lawson, who works out of the Eagle County Sheriff’s El Jebel office, didn’t return a cell phone message Friday.
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