Earlier this month, a man stole a van and attempted to flee from law enforcement officials. 43-year-old officer Patrick Bower had attempted to stop the suspect when the suspect deliberately ran into him. Bower had been riding an official motorcycle making him even more vulnerable to injuries. When the driver of the van ran into the officer, he was dragged across two lanes on Warm Springs Road in Fremont, California. The officer was eventually pinned against a light pole where he sustained serious injuries.
The man responsible for the accident was identified by a citizen who had recognized his face during a television broadcast of the incident. Law enforcement officials tracked the suspect to a Los Angeles home where they arrested him. The suspect will be charged with the attempted murder of Officer Bower and if convicted would face incarceration for the crime. Medical personnel expect Officer Bower to make a full recovery from the multiple injuries he sustained in the motorcycle accident.
Criminal convictions are determined under the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, meaning that there is no other alternative explanation for the evidence besides a conclusion that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. The evidentiary standard in civil suits for personal injury is much lower than the one for criminal convictions and thus even easier to prove after a criminal conviction for the same incident.
Depending on the rules of evidence in each state, evidence of the felony conviction could be admitted in a subsequent civil suit for damages to cover medical bills, lost wages or other damages suffered as a result of an accident causing serious injury or death.
Source: Examiner.com “Fremont: Van driver who hit motorcycle policeman arrested” Sheila O’Conner 10/7/10