A crash last month that injured several people including a 2-year-old boy was caused by Lodi Police volunteer Partners, investigators have concluded.
The Partner, 75-year-old Robert Hindmarsch, was cited for failing to yield to oncoming traffic, Lodi police said Monday.
Meanwhile, the other driver was also cited for seat belt violations, said Motor Sgt. Chris Jacobson. That woman, 21-year-old Ashley St. Clair, was not wearing a seat belt and her son was not properly fastened into his child safety seat.
The May 23 collision happened when the Partners' minivan was heading north on Hutchins Street. Hindmarsch turned west onto Wimbledon Drive, into the path of a southbound Mazda 6 sedan. The intersection was blocked for about two hours.
All four people — Hindmarsch's wife was in the van's passenger seat — were hospitalized, and all have since been released.
The citations are infractions, not misdemeanors.
Jacobson, who reviews and writes many collision reports, said the fact that Partners work with police officers was not a factor in the crash investigation. He also said he did not think Hindmarsch's overall driving skills should be questioned.
"I have no indication that this gentleman needs anything done as far as his driving," he said. "We have a legal obligation to the citizens to make sure they're safe and we don't want any lawsuits. We watch the Partners closely and I don't see any reason for a re-evaluation."
The Partners, who are not paid, go through extra driving classes before they are allowed to drive city-owned vehicles.
As for an insurance claim because a city vehicle was involved, St. Clair has six months from the time of the collision to file a claim. That procedure is standard in all claims against government agencies in California, said City Attorney Stephen Schwabauer.
Claims may either be settled or denied. If denied, the claimant may then file a lawsuit.
Schwabauer had not seen reports on the collision and could not comment on it specifically.