WASHINGTON — New details are emerging about the deadly car crash that claimed the life of Prince George’s County Police Officer Brennan Rabain early Saturday morning.
The county police union says Rabain’s girlfriend was riding in his cruiser when he attempted to make a traffic stop while off-duty in Lanham.
Rabain was killed when his cruiser hit a wooden fence just off Greenbelt Road, at approximately 3:30 a.m.
Police policy states that an off-duty officer can drive civilians around with their county-issued cruisers. Civilians who wish to ride with an on-duty officer must get prior written authorization. However, off-duty officers can respond to emergency calls with a passenger in the car, at which point, they determine whether it is safe to continue to drive the civilian.
“(Officers) are responsible for their passengers’ behavior while they are in the cruiser,” says Dean Jones, President of the Prince George’s County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 89. “If you need to pull a traffic stop, it is permitted. If you are going to respond to a robbery call or something where you think there would be violence, you should stop and get the civilian out of the car.” It’s unknown whether Rabain felt the traffic stop would warrant that action.
Jones says in this case, Officer Rabain heard a call over the radio for a vehicle that was speeding and driving erratically. “It just so happened that the vehicle flew by him and he attempted to make a traffic stop.” Rabain was off-duty and chose to take police action by engaging his lights and sirens. It’s unclear how long he was pursuing the vehicle before he lost control of his cruiser and crashed into a wooden fence. The driver of the vehicle he was trying to pull over fled the scene.
Police Lt. Jarriel Jordan says the investigation is ongoing,
and it’s not yet known if Rabain was able to radio communication back to dispatch. “Things happen so fast, it’s incredible. It could have been a matter of seconds.”
Jones confirmed the woman inside the cruiser at the time was Rabain’s girlfriend. She sustained minor injuries and was sedated as a result of extreme emotional distress. Investigators will be reviewing Rabain’s in-car camera. A GoFundMe fundraising page has been set up for Officer Rabain’s small daughter.
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