DENVER (KDVR) — A Denver Police Department officer was suspended for 38 days after driving her patrol vehicle into a pedestrian. The officer was looking at her cellphone at the time.
The incident occurred about 11:13 p.m. on Sept. 17, 2019. Officer Jamie Taft was stopped at the intersection of Mariposa Street and West Colfax Avenue just southwest of downtown. As she made a left turn, she struck a pedestrian.
Video from Taft’s body-worn camera shows her starting to type into her cellphone as she made the turn.
Taft immediately stopped her patrol vehicle, called for an ambulance and put on her emergency lights.
According to a document from the Denver Department of Public Safety (DDPS) explaining Taft’s suspension, she apologized to the pedestrian and told him she was distracted by a bicycle in her back seat. She repeated the story to other first responders when they arrived at the scene.
In an interview about the incident, Taft admitted to holding her phone but again stated she was distracted by the bike shifting in the back and was worried it may have broken a window.
According to the DDPS document, Taft was performing “manual data entry” with the phone. The pedestrian was not jay-walking.
The man she struck suffered “multiple thoracic spinal fractures,” according to the DDPS.
Taft was charged with careless driving, careless driving resulting in injury and infliction of serious bodily injury to a vulnerable road user.
She pleaded guilty to careless driving in January 2020. The other charges were dismissed.
The DDPS determined Taft “drove in a careless and imprudent manner without due regard for a pedestrian lawfully within the roadway, striking the pedestrian with her police car which resulted in the pedestrian suffering serious bodily injury.”
The department report said Taft “took responsibility for her actions and expressed regret over the incident.”