Michigan State Police are actively searching for more witnesses to a crash in the City of Rockford that took the life of a state trooper, according to M-Live.
Twenty-eight-year-old State Trooper Timothy O’Neill was killed in an accident at Belding Road and Wolverine Boulevard NE while on duty as part of the motorcycle patrol. The crash involved another motor vehicle, but no one else suffered any injuries.
State Police Lieutenant Kevin Sweeney said that an accident reconstruction expert and a state police detective are still investigating the crash. More details will be released once that investigation is complete. According to the lieutenant, investigators are taking their time to ensure everything is done properly. Fatal cases, noted Sweeney, normally have a longer investigation time than cases that do not involve death.
O’Neill joined the state police in 2014, spending his entire career in Rockford, and he was set to be married on October 7. Several members of law enforcement and the community came out to honor him at his funeral service in Auburn Hills. Local resident and attendee Kathy Albright told reporters that she came to pay her respects because law enforcement officers often do not receive the respect they deserve.
Motorcycle deaths are on the rise
The tragic case of O’Neill highlights just how much risk motorcycle riders face when they’re out on the roads, even if they are members of law enforcement and have had specialized training as a result. In late September, for example, off-duty Los Angeles police officer 34-year-old John Gasparyan was hit and killed by a motorist who was making a U-turn, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The week before the L.A. accident, Highway Patrol Officer James Branik was struck and killed in San Martin, California, while on his motorcycle when a car made a left turn right into his path – a common mistake motorists make that often has deadly consequences for motorcyclists – according to the Mercury News.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcycle deaths are going up based on the most recent data available. There was an 8.3 percent jump in motorcycle fatalities between 2014 and 2015, and in 2015, studies showed that a motorcyclist was 29 times more likely than occupant car passengers to die in a collision per mile traveled. In addition, the fatality rate for registered motorcycles was six times the rate of registered motor vehicles. With the increase of registered motorcycles on the road over the last year and motorists still not completely aware of how to share the road with them, this tragic trend is likely to continue.
A motorcycle accident often has serious consequences for the rider because of the lack of body protection in such an open method of transport, especially when compared to the protection people receive in passenger cars, trucks and buses. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you do have rights. Speak to a motorcycle or car accident lawyer Denver CO trusts today about what you can do for your case.
Thanks to our friend and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into motorcycle accident cases.