08/31/2007

Fla. motorcycle duputy in stable condition after collision

Editor's Note — "The training given for motorcycles and cars are very similar but the method of looking down the road and through curves/turns is an absolute must when on a motorcycle," said Captain Travis Yates, Team Leader with the Tulsa Police Precision Driver Training Unit. "Drivers must prepare for the unexpected and the only way to do that is to look well ahead down the road.

"While I have long advocated annual driver training for vehicles, the issue of police motorcycles raises the level of training that has to occur. A monthly training day for every officer that rides a motorcycle conducting enforcement action is absoultely the minimum amount that is needed.

"A motorcycle is harder to see by other drivers and the fact that officers are not enclosed and not belted in leaves no room for error. Unfortunately collisions involving police motorcycles are likely to produce serious injury or death. Training is essential to ensure that our officers are given the safest environment as possible while working as motor officers."


Walter Pacheco
Sentinel Staff Writer
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ORLANDO, Fla. — An Orange County deputy was listed in stable condition Thursday after his motorcycle slammed into the back of an air-conditioning repair van during the morning commute on State Road 408 downtown.

Deputy Jorge Fernandez, 48, was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center shortly after the accident, which left his motorcycle twisted and bent on the highway and forced officers to close part of the expressway.

"He suffered pelvic and facial injuries," said Officer Jim Young, a spokesman for the Orlando Police Department. "He'll remain at the hospital for the time being."

The accident, which involved a Greens Energy Services air-conditioning repair truck, shut down the westbound lanes between Bumby and Mills avenues for more than two hours while officials investigated the crash.

Traffic was backed up for more than six miles, from Interstate 4 to Semoran Boulevard, during the early morning's peak commuting hours.

"The 408 is usually a mess, but this morning was unbearable," said Thomas Jenses, who pulled off at the Mills Avenue exit on S.R. 408 after reading the delay warning on the electronic traffic-alert sign on the roadway.

Orlando police said the accident happened before 8:42 a.m.

A call came in of a collision between a motorcycle deputy and a van on the East-West Expressway at Rosalind Avenue.

"Both drivers were headed westbound on the 408 and nearing I-4 in very heavy traffic," Young said. "The deputy somehow struck the back of the van. The driver of that van was not injured and not taken to the hospital."

Greens employee Michael Hall was driving the van at the time of the accident.

Calls to Greens Energy Services, with offices in Orange and Seminole, were not returned.

Copyright 2007 Orlando Sentinel

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