Police Officer Playing on Computer Crashes into Motorcycle

(POLICE CRIMES)   A man who sued the City of Austin after a police car hit his motorcycle and injured him will receive a $250,000 settlement.

Louis Olivier , 75 , was injured when officer Damon Dunn ran a stop sign at Magazine Street and Lamplight Village Avenue in far North Austin in May 2010 , according to the lawsuit that Olivier filed in December .

At the time, Dunn was entering information on a laptop in his patrol car, the suit said.

The City Council approved the settlement at its Thursday meeting.

Dashbord video released by police showed Dunn leaving a residential area, traveling through an intersection and striking Olivier, who was wearing a helmet.

The city’s ban on texting while driving, which took effect in January 2010 , exempts public safety personnel who use wireless devices while on duty.

Guy Watts , Olivier’s attorney, said Olivier suffered injuries to his right leg in the wreck and can’t walk without assistance.

Olivier’s medical expenses are close to $1 million , Watts said.

State law prohibits the city from paying more than $250,000 for personal injury lawsuits that involve negligence, Watts said.

Dunn is still working at the department but was suspended for three days for his actions in the wreck, a police spokeswoman said.

Olivier also sued TriTech Software Systems, the manufacturer of the city’s computer assisted dispatch system, and Versaterm Corp., the company that sold the software Dunn was using on the laptop.

The computer software and system should have features that prevent officers from typing while driving, Watts said.

The settlement does not involve the two companies; the claims against them are still pending, a city spokesman said.



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