A Lexington police officer must give up his police take-home cruiser for two weeks after causing three traffic accidents in as many months.
Another police officer will be suspended for 20 hours without pay after he caused an accident on Old Frankfort Pike at South Forbes Road that resulted in another driver being taken to the hospital.
The Urban County Council approved the two-week home-fleet suspension for Officer Nathan Barks and the 20-hour suspension without pay of Officer Roman Sorrell during Thursday night’s council meeting.
Lexington Police Commander Guy Greene told the council Thursday that both Barks and Sorrell have agreed to their respective suspensions.
“The allegation is that officer Nathan Barks has been involved in three at-fault collisions within a 12-month period,” Greene said. “The collisions occurred on Dec. 18, Dec. 19 (2016) and Feb. 2, 2017.”
According to accident reports, on Dec. 18 Barks was responding to a call in his police vehicle when he struck a vehicle at the intersection of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Second Street. Barks had his lights and sirens activated, the report said. Barks was treated at the scene for a hand injury and the driver of the other vehicle, a city employee, was taken to the hospital. The city employee was driving a city-owned Ford Escape.
One day later, Barks backed into a utility pole on Oak Hill Drive. The report said there was minor damage to the rear bumper of his police cruiser.
Then on Feb. 2, Barks was trying to re-enter traffic on New Circle Road after completing a traffic stop. “As he was pulling back onto the roadway, another vehicle began to merge into the same lane, so Officer Barks turned hard to the right, striking the guardrail,” the accident report said. Barks was not injured but there was minor damage to the vehicle.
In addition to the home-fleet suspension, Barks was also given a written reprimand, Greene said.
On Feb. 5, Officer Sorrell was responding to a call for an officer in need of assistance on Old Frankfort Pike. Sorrell had his lights and sirens activated but “failed to clear the intersection of Old Frankfort and South Forbes. Both his cruiser and the other vehicle, a Toyota Prius, were severely damaged. The driver of the Prius was transported to the hospital.”
In addition to the 20 hours without pay, Sorrell will also undergo emergency driver retraining, Greene told the council.
Greene said police officers who are involved in accidents are first given warnings, which is the least serious. If problems continue then officers are given retraining, which is what Sorrell was assigned, and then could face disciplinary action.