HAINES CITY, Fla. — A Haines City police officer who was driving more than 100 miles an hour just seconds before crashing into another vehicle has been fired. The crash was the subject of an I-Team investigation in April.
Officer Christopher Jackson, who was a traffic officer for the Haines City Police Department, was placed on administrative leave in February. The department announced Friday that Officer Jackson has been terminated following an internal investigation showing he violated six departmental policies.
According to the report provided to the I-Team, two violations involved violating the law… including driving too fast for conditions and a seatbelt violation. He was also found to have violated departmental policy by damaging city property (serious crash), failing to notify the department he was responding in an emergency mode, and failing to operate his vehicle with due regard.
A month after the department investigated those violations, Jackson received another disciplinary action for “untruthfulness”.
The crash was caught on a dashcam video from an approaching tractor-trailer. Officer Jackson was speeding to a call in his patrol car when he crashed into a Toyota Corolla entering the highway. He crossed into the opposite lanes and narrowly missed hitting two pick-up trucks and an 18-wheeler head-on.
It happened on Highway 17, one of Haines City’s busiest roads shortly after 9 a.m., one of the busiest times of the day. Jackson and the other driver were taken to the hospital for injuries suffered in the crash.
Both drivers were cited after Polk County Sheriff’s Office traffic investigators found the driver of the Toyota coasted through a stop sign. Jackson was cited for driving too fast for conditions and not wearing a seatbelt.
The I-Team obtained data from Officer Jackson’s black box, indicating he was driving 107 miles an hour five seconds before the crash. A speed of 107 miles an hour translates to 156 feet per second. That means Officer Jackson’s Dodge Charger would travel the length of a football field in about two seconds at that speed, giving him and the other driver very little time to react.
We also uncovered Officer Jackson had a prior speeding ticket and a careless driving charge related to another crash before he joined the department in 2015.
The other driver had a broken arm and leg and is pursuing legal action against the city.
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