Even emergency vehicles must stop


To the Editor:

This is a copy of a letter I sent to Chief Eric Blake of the Oak Bluffs Police Department.

The purpose of this letter is to alert you to an observation I made yesterday at 5 pm, as three Oak Bluffs Police cruisers responded to an emergency service call.

As I waited in line on County Road, approaching the stop sign across from the fire station, I observed three Oak Bluffs Police cruisers with their sirens and overhead lights activated, approach the intersection from Wing Road, There were several cars at the intersection as people headed home from work.

The first two cruisers drove through the stop sign, sped through the intersection and turned left onto County Road. The third cruiser stopped at the stop sign before proceeding through the intersection.

As you know, Massachusetts General Law Chapter 89, Section 7B requires emergency vehicles to make a “full stop” before proceeding through an intersection, even if the vehicle is on an emergency call.

I was the attorney who represented the estate of a young Islander, when an Oak Bluffs Police officer, driving a cruiser, drove through a stop sign at the very same intersection and plowed into the driver’s door of my client’s car.

My client died in his car at the scene, the police officer was found guilty of vehicular homicide, and the town’s insurer settled the wrongful death case.

Please remind our officers that the law requires them to make a “full stop” before entering an intersection, even when they are on an emergency service call, so we can avoid the needless loss of another life.

Ronald S. Beitman

Vineyard Haven