Janesville44.3°

Officer won’t be cited in squad crash

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Ryan Dostalek
August 23, 2008
— A Janesville police officer who was speeding down a city street without lights or siren before an Aug. 6 crash will not receive a citation, according to a Wisconsin State Patrol report.

Officer Amber Thompson, 25, was driving south on Lexington Drive on her way to assist another officer in a traffic stop when her squad car collided at Cherokee Road with a vehicle driven by Mathew Dammen, 18, Janesville, according to a report by the state patrol.


Dammen said he stopped at the stop sign, looked both directions, saw a car approaching from his left but felt he had enough time to make a left turn onto Lexington Drive, according to the report.


Thompson saw Dammen pull onto Lexington Drive and attempted to swerve out of his way, but the two vehicles crashed, according to reports.


In a handwritten statement attached to the report, Thompson wrote she was driving “30+” at the time of the crash.


The speed limit in that area is 25 mph, according to the report.


Neither driver was injured.


The trooper who investigated the crash wrote that contributing factors in the crash were Thompson exceeding the speed limit and Dammen failing to yield the right of way.


Deputy Chief Steve Kopp said state statutes allow officers to exceed speed limits and go through red lights so long as they are using their emergency equipment.


“Anytime (officers) are disregarding regulations that govern speed or direction of movement of vehicular traffic, they need to have both emergency lights and siren activated,” Kopp said.


Violation of departmental policies may subject an officer to discipline, but Kopp said he couldn’t reveal whether Thompson had been disciplined because it would be a personnel matter.



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