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One of Brian’s Favorite Quotes

To be really useful, we must keep pace with the state of society, and not dishearten it by attempts at what its population, means, or occupations will fail in attempting.”
— Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826) to G. C. de La Costa
 1807. ME 11:206

Pay Attention to the Trunk of the Car in This Police Chase. What You Do or Don’t See Holds the Key to a Tragic Death.

Police in Michigan have reviewed what might have led to the death of an innocent citizen bystander resulting from an officer attempting to make a traffic stop. And the key could be what is or isn’t seen in the reflection of a trunk in an officer’s dashcam video.
On July 3, Michigan State Police officer Timothy Fagin — whose father was with him for a ride-along — was in his patrol car when he noticed a driver who was trying to put on his seatbelt. Fagin then followed the vehicle but the suspect kept going. Fagin claims he activated his emergency lights but witnesses say that’s not true, according to the Flint Journal.
According to a police review of the case, the answer to whether Fagin ever flashed his lights lies in a simple reflection on the trunk of the car he was chasing. State police dashcam video obtained by the Flint Journal shows multiple occurrences of what state police are saying is proof that Fagin is in no way at fault for what was just about to occur.
Dashcam footage shows a reflection on top of a vehicle’s trunk that police say is evidence that an officer activated his emergency lights just

before a fatal accident, July 3, 2014. (Image source: Michigan State Police via the Flint Journal)
“I then observed the driver look in his side mirror, as well as his rear view mirror at my patrol vehicle. I signaled to the driver with my left hand to pull over to the right,” Fagin wrote in a report. But the driver, lights or no lights, never stopped.
As the vehicle Fagin was following began to pick up speed, so did the trooper. The supposed chase sped through intersections of what appears to be a rural or suburban area. But the police chase caught on video suddenly halted when 63-year-old Jacqueline Nichols’ proceeded through an intersection, colliding with Fagin’s patrol car. Nichols, who was on her way home from the beauty salon, died from the accident. Nichols was riding with Precious Cochran and her daughter. Cochran claims that just before the fatal accident, she asked Nichols and her daughter, ”Did y’all see the car run the red light,” referring to the vehicle Fagin was after. Cochran reportedly told police she tried to slow down, but that it was too late.
Fagin said he did all he could, writing in the report, “Before I could stop or maneuver to avoid the vehicle, my patrol vehicle struck the other vehicle on the passenger’s side.”
Below is footage from the dashcam video that police say is evidence that Fagin did, in fact, activate his lights (some sort of reflection appears at times in the video). But is it the lights or something else?

Michigan State Police did not immediately respond to when asked whether Fagin ever ran a red light, if police ever caught the driver of the vehicle and whether any charges have been made.
(H/T: Flint Journal)
Editor’s note: This post has been updated. 

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