The Austin Police Department is investigating after a driver’s dash cam picked up footage of an officer blowing through what appears to be a red light and almost hitting him.
In a video Kai Fang posted to YouTube, an APD Ford Explorer is seen nearly T-boning his car as Fang was going through the intersection of the Mopac Expressway service road and West Ben White Boulevard on Monday at 5:07 p.m.
Fang’s front and rear-view dash cameras picked up two different perspectives of the near-miss. It can clearly be seen in the video that Fang had a green light.
“As soon as I hit that intersection, I just noticed this black SUV coming super fast, like 40-50 miles per hour at me, and it just barely almost clipped my back, left bumper,” Fang recalled.
In the video, the Explorer’s lights were not flashing. Fang says he didn’t even realize it was an officer until after he pulled over to check the video.
“I was still kind of in shock, like I was still trying to process what happened,” he said, “And I went over the footage on my phone and I noticed it was a cop.”
KXAN alerted APD to the video. The footage isn’t clear enough to make out the officer’s identifying number on the Explorer, so the police department is working to figure out who was driving through the intersection at the time it happened. Then, APD will look into what the circumstances were and whether that officer had just gotten called out somewhere.
Fang says it was lucky he caught footage of what happened — he only had these cameras installed a couple of weeks ago.
“I got the dash cam because of how many accidents that happen,” Fang said.
Andrew Aboudaoud, president of The Dashcam Store, says many others are doing the same.
“Every day we’re hearing these stories,” Aboudaoud said.
He sells the cameras online and in his Austin storefront, and since opening his store in 2013, business has steadily grown. Most often, people buy the cameras for insurance purposes.
“In case you get into an accident, you’ll have footage that basically says the truth is on your side,” Aboudaoud said.
Fang says in his case, he’s happy his car is OK — he just hopes to get answers on why the near-crash happened.
“If they see us doing it, they’re going to pull us over, give us a citation, so I think the law applies to them the same way.”
According to Texas statutes, there are some exceptions that allow police officers to run red lights without their lights on.
An officer who is responding to an emergency call involving a suspected criminal may not use a signal if knowledge of the officer would cause the suspect to destroy or lose evidence, or if it would cause the officer to miss identifying or arresting the suspect.
Another exception allows the officer not to use a signal if he or she believes it would increase the risk of a crash.