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Watertown sued over accident involving city police car

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A Watertown man is suing the city and one of its police officers over alleged injuries he suffered in a collision with a patrol car in April.

Timothy E. Greenfield filed state Supreme Court action Monday at the Jefferson County clerk’s office against the city and Officer George A. Cummings, claiming he was injured in an April 21 crash between his vehicle and the cruiser at North Massey and Coffeen streets.

Police said at the time that Officer Cummings was responding to a call to assist a fellow officer in breaking up a large fight about 2 a.m. at a West Main Street bar. Officer Cummings had his emergency lights and siren activated, but approached a red light as he proceeded from Coffeen Street into its intersection with North Massey Street. Mr. Greenfield was traveling west on North Massey Street facing a green light and, when he observed the police car, stopped his vehicle in the middle of the intersection, according to a police report.

Officer Cummings hit his vehicle’s brake and went into a skid and, unable to stop, crashed into the driver’s side of Mr. Greenfield’s car, according to the police report. Mr. Greenfield suffered a chest injury and was removed from his vehicle using emergency equipment before being taken by helicopter to a Syracuse hospital. Officer Cummings suffered a scrape on his head and sought treatment, but he was not hospitalized.

The police report concluded that Officer Cummings was at fault for the crash due to speed and his failure to clear the intersection. Mr. Greenfield, through his attorney, William Mattar, Williamsville, contends that Officer Cummings’s negligence caused the accident and that the city also is liable as the owner of the police vehicle involved.

Mr. Greenfield claims he suffered unspecified permanent injuries as a result of the crash, as well as economic losses. The suit does not specify an amount being sought in damages.

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