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Dashcam video shows speeding ATV rider crash into windshield of Conn. police cruiser

The officer had strategically positioned his vehicle to shield pedestrians from the ATV

By Josh LaBella
New Haven Register, Conn.

NEW HAVEN, Con. — City officials have released the dash-camera footage showing a person illegally riding an ATV through East Rock Park crashing into a police cruiser.

Police said the crash happened when an officer assigned to a detail focused on addressing ongoing complaints of illegal and reckless drivers in the city went to East Rock Park around 3:40 p.m. Sunday in response to reports that a group of riders was congregating there.

The officer entered the park using Farnam Drive, which is only for pedestrian traffic, and came across an ATV driving on the road at a high rate of speed as many pedestrians, including families with children, walked in the vicinity, according to police.

Police said the officer slowed down and angled the cruiser across the road to block the pedestrians, while giving the ATV room to get around the cruiser. But the driver lost control and struck the vehicle, they said.

Officers immediately called for medical assistance, police said, adding the 19-year-old ATV rider was transported to the hospital with serious injuries.

New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said neither the state Office of the Inspector General nor the New Haven Police Department Internal Affairs Department see a reason to further investigate the incident.

“The Inspector General’s Office don’t believe there was misconduct,” Jacobson said.

“As you can see, he attempts to turn” and then loses control of the ATV and strikes the police cruiser head-on, crashing into its windshield, Jacobson said. He noted the man was still in the hospital.

“We hope he’s all right,” he said. “We’re very lucky that he wasn’t killed.”

Mayor Justin Elicker said the crash is a “testament to how dangerous ATV riding is.” He said the officer involved slowed down from 11-12 mph to about 7 mph as the ATV approached.

“You can see, the officer reacted quickly and calmly to protect the people involved.,” he said.

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