Yonkers and its police department have been sued for a car crash that resulted in the deaths of four teenagers in 2020. The teens were 18-years-old and had graduated from high school the prior spring. The families of the teenagers blame the police for the crash, arguing that they mishandled the pursuit of a man who attempted to evade them on Riverdale Avenue when they tried to pull him over for erratic driving. The man also died in the crash.
The police department’s public information officer said that the officers chose to disengage and didn’t pursue precise to avoid a crash; they did not view the pursuit as a high speed chase. The police followed around 15 seconds behind the fleeing driver’s sedan; the police car was not in emergency mode.
The mother of one of the teens who died argued that the police should have used warning equipment like sirens, horns and lights and should have given proper instruction to its officers to properly follow the vehicle. One of the lawsuits that has been filed alleges that the police department owed a duty to direct officers and personnel in appropriate precautions for chasing, following, or apprehending a vehicle. Another lawsuit alleges that the actions of the police department in this situation increased risks to the public.