A DC police car that burst into flames in an accident this weekend was retro-fitted with equipment designed to prevent such fires.
Nine people were injured… including five police officers.
Tonight DC Police say they’re concerned about the adequacy of the supposed fix. And as Gary Reals reports they aren’t alone.
Although no one received life-threatening injuries in Saturday’s crash at Naylor Road & Southern Avenue… 12 law enforcement officers have been killed nation-wide in similar crashes when Ford Crown Victorias with police interceptor packages are rear-ended.
Ford has responded by retrofitting thousands of police cars with equipment that shields the gas tank from the rear axle & nearby bolts. Indeed the cruiser in Saturday’s crash just had the shields installed less than two months earlier.
Because of all the other fiery crashes the National Association of Police Organizations have sued Ford. The suit contends the retrofits are "insufficient, inadequate & may increase the risk of fire." Ford denies it and Metropolitan Police, one of the first departments in our region to install the retrofits, is caught in the middle
This is a tough spot for the Police Department. It has 118 brand new Crown Victorias paid for and in the delivery pipe-line. Ms. Gregory says they probably won’t order anymore until the investigation is complete.
In the meantime, police officers are being advised to take extra care how they park their cruisers to try to avoid being hit by an errant vehicle.
Fourteen police officers nationwide have died in Crown Victoria accidents since 1983.