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Raleigh police sergeant's crash stumps investigators

Posted December 30, 2008

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— Investigators were still trying to determine who was at fault for a wreck late Sunday involving a Raleigh police sergeant's cruiser and an SUV.

Sgt. Richard Hoffman and the SUV's driver, Christopher Mazur, each claimed he had a green light when their vehicles crashed into each other at the intersection of Wade Avenue and Dixie Trail.

Mazur had consumed alcohol, but he was not above the the legal limit, police said.

Emergency crews took Hoffman to Raleigh Community Hospital. He was released Monday morning after tests showed he had no broken bones.

Mazur was not seriously injured. Crews took his passenger, Michael Penick Jr., 21, to WakeMed, where he was in fair condition Tuesday morning.

Officers who specialize in crash reconstruction were trying to determine which driver was at fault for the crash. They are seeking witnesses who may have seen the wreck happen.


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  • thepeopleschamp Dec 31, 2008

    mrf2675, I am neither police or trooper. But here is my deal, I would much rather the other car near me and my family in traffic be the police typing on a computer than a drinker. Thats just my crazy reasoning though. If you would prefer a drunk in traffic with you, more power to you.

  • mrf2675 Dec 31, 2008

    Well, to the Police officers and State Troopers who feel the need to post on here, and talk about someone who shouldnt be driving after any drinks whatsoever.....please know that you guys driving around punching stuff on your computer traveling 60 mph down Wade avenue is certainly no safer.

  • leo-nc Dec 31, 2008

    "I have had the highway patrol tailgate me for more than a brief moment in much more residential areas than I-40,I-440,etc on more than one occasion."---

    Hence the name "STATE" Highway Patrol. Every state maintained road, including residential areas are the jurisdiction of the SHP. In addition, I spend MOST of my time on small roads because that is where most crashes occur. Whether you like us or not, can't help you there. But don't think that if you're speeding in a residential area, you won't be stopped by SHP because you can and will. As for the issue with running your plates, well let us do our job and you go do yours.

  • leo-nc Dec 31, 2008

    "Besides if there is no real probable cause to run my plates/investigate me then why is it being done in the first place?"---

    Simply because we can, and many criminals have been found that way. If you have nothing to worry about then simply don't worry about it and keep driving. If nothing is found on your plate, then you will be fine. 90% of the time, the only thing that is run is the plate itself, not the driver.

  • eternalrage83 Dec 31, 2008


    I respect what you are saying and I am only speaking from my experiences with the highway patrol, which is admittedly limited being I am neither a cop nor a criminal. I have had the highway patrol tailgate me for more than a brief moment in much more residential areas than I-40,I-440,etc on more than one occasion. Last time I had it happen it was on a road surrounded my woods during deer season in the middle of the night. The officer tailgated me for about a mile then passed me.

    I have actually not had a cop tailgate me to often on a busy road, and the few times it has happened it was as you say rpd07 brief.

    All that said I have had good and bad dealings with the police. It seems that most of the time however the bad times usually involve a State Trooper. The local or county police are usually much more polite and personable.


    I was not aware of that, I apologize.

  • RPD07 Dec 31, 2008


    there is a difference in how a police officer drives when trying to read a plate than your standard tailgater. Trust me, we are aware of the hazards in front of you before you are aware of what is in front of you. If you are talking about a child or dog running out in front of you, then you are most likely in a residential area or a place that we will need to come to a stop at, then we can run your plate when we stop. It's the open road I get close to you for a brief moment. I don't see kids and dogs running accross I-40, I-440, etc very often.

    Your license plate belongs to the state, I can run it all day long. Again people, learn what you are talking about before making such accusations that we are "breaking the law" or "violating your rights". Any court in America will say I have the right to run your license plate, and even the persons drivers license it's registered to.

    Nice try. Thanks and come again!

  • thepeopleschamp Dec 31, 2008

    eternalrage, the courts have ruled on this, probable cause is not a requirement to run a license plate.

  • eternalrage83 Dec 31, 2008

    I am not the biggest fan of the highway patrol but I understand they are a necessary evil. The thing that drives me up the wall is when they tailgate me to run my plates to see if I have broken the law recently when the act of getting that close to my back bumper causes unsafe driving conditions for myself everyone around me. What if I had to stop suddenly to not hit a child or dog that ran into the street randomly? Somehow I bet I would get the ticket for stopping to suddenly, even though had the rolls been reversed and the cop stopped suddenly I would get the ticket for following to closely.

    It is dangerous to tailgate, no matter what the motive is. I think either the license plates need to have big enough lettering to allow it to be read from a safe distance or the cops should not be allowed to do it randomly while driving. Besides if there is no real probable cause to run my plates/investigate me then why is it being done in the first place?

  • cmama312 Dec 31, 2008

    "A rule of thumb I use when I drink. Every per I drink I count as .02. Every 1.5 hours that pass, I take away .02 from my bac. I then decide if can NOT blow a .08 or higher. If I can I dont drive. DESPITE whether I think I can drive or not. I am 5'10 and about 190 to 195lb. And 4 beers in an hour do not make me impaired, but I would fail a the breathalyser (sp) for sure. I agree with RPD07. Cars today deadened all outside sound. The sirens have to be super loud or people(who never look in mirror) would never know a cop or firetruck was behind them."

    Wow. That's some math for a guy who's been drinking. Got to be a margin of error there. Do us all a favor and how about you just don't drink and drive in the first place.

  • RPD07 Dec 31, 2008

    Same goes for the window tinting, covered plates and non-white headlights. We need to prove it in court but we are also not going to just ticket people for those specific violations. After all, don't we have "real criminals to catch". I only use those "petty" violations to pull a car over that I suspect may be up to more than just driving. If we did like you want, we would never make it to the 911 calls.

    Now, about the computer in a police car. Please read and understand the laws before making false accusations that we are breaking the law. The law states that a television viewer may not be visible to the driver. That means a screen able to receive TV reception. That does not include computer, movie player, game systems, etc. Yes the times have changed but the laws have not caught up yet.

    Please feel free to stick a computer in your car if you want to drive and type. After all, it is LEGAL.