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WPD officer distracted, hits pole

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

McHenry County, Illinois Emergency Services Vehicles Walmart

WPD officer distracted, hits pole

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
October 1, 2009


Here's the report on the crash in the Walmart parking lot last week, when a Woodstock police car ran into a light support.

On Friday, September 25, 2009, just before midnight, Ofc. Charles Vorderer, 29, was driving in the Walmart parking lot at 1275 Lake Avenue, in his 2007 Ford Crown Victoria squad car. He was driving east in the parking lot, when he crashed into a parking lot light support, damaging the right front portion of the police vehicle and injuring himself.

According to the police report prepared by a deputy (#1961) of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, Vorderer was eastbound in the parking lot and was observing suspicious subjects in the parking lot behind his vehicle. While his vehicle was accelerating forward, he had his head turned and was looking at the subjects behind him. When he turned his head back to the front, the concrete light support was right in front of him and he hit it. Vorderer hit his nose and forehead on the steering wheel, and he was transported to Woodstock Memorial Hospital by a co-worker.

The diagram of the crash scene shows the squad car at a slight angle and traveling across striped parking spaces toward the light support and a grassy median, almost parallel to the line separating opposing parking spaces.

The primary cause of the crash is listed as "Distraction - from outside vehicle." Sorry, but that doesn't quite cut it. It would be more accurate to say that the driver diverted his attention from the direction of travel.

There is no mention of any citation issued. Since there is apparently no Vehicle Control Agreement in effect between Walmart and the City of Woodstock and its Police Department, state traffic laws generally cannot be enforced on Walmart's private property.

The crash report was furnished to me by the sheriff's department on the same day as my FOIA Request was submitted. The response to my Tuesday request for the report from the Woodstock Police Department was that I would have to obtain it from the sheriff's department. I won't attempt to read into it that they don't have a copy of it; of course, they do. And they have their own internal reports of the crash and photographs.

Next time I'll remember to word my FOIA Request to include photographs and internal reports, which are certainly subject to FOIA. This crash could have been reported in the Northwest Herald on Sunday, September 27. If it had been, it never would have been mentioned here.



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