A police officer and several restaurant goers were lucky to escape injury Christmas Eve. According to news reports, Taos County, New Mexico Sheriff's Deputy Nicholas Lamendola was responding to a call on the evening of December 24 with his lights and sirens blaring when a vehicle pulled in front of his Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicle. Lamendola was traveling at a high rate of speed when he struck the vehicle, bounced over a snow bank, spun through a parking lot and rolled onto the patio of the El Prado restaurant. Moments earlier, patrons were waiting for a table on that very patio.

The deputy's vehicle was leaking fuel, and bystanders were quick to pull an open fire pit from the scene before removing the officer from the overturned Tahoe. Beer cans were found in the vehicle, but local police insist Lamendola wasn't drinking. The deputy is said to have borrowed the SUV from another officer who had just responded to an open container call. Lamendola wasn't submitted to a blood test. Hit the jump for a news report on the crash.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      Auto enthusiast 24
      • 3 Years Ago
      The problem I have with this story is that the cop wasn't given a bac test of any kind. What cops switch vehicles in the middle of a shift? And if the open containers were from a previous call, why weren't they booked into evidence or disposed of. If I pick up an empty off the side of the road and then got pulled over, id be liable for that. I had a family friend get sideswiped by a cop that blew a 4 way stopped two blocks from his station. By her account he smelled highly of alcohol and appeared intoxicated. Yet his buddies showed up pronto and he was never tested or brought up on charges. They did have their insurance pay for her car though
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Corvette9
      • 3 Years Ago
      People are quick to blame law enforcement. It seems as though people are traumatized from previous experiences which is understandable, but not all cops are alike.
        grandprixc
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Corvette9
        Yeah, I have police and military in my family. None of them has made it on national news for crashing into a restaurant with beer cans in the police cruiser, then coming up with some fishy explanation and mere insistence that he was not drinking. If it looks and smells like BS, then it probably is.
        Auto enthusiast 24
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Corvette9
        Oh and I would agree. I have many cop friends who's kids play sports with mine and they are great parents. But I also know their all only people too and everyone has their flaws. Being a sworn officer of the law doesn't always deter someone from doing something illegal.
      The Tourmaster
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Lamendola was traveling at a high rate of speed..." OK, I don't know how many times this needs to be repeated. "a high rate of speed" is not the same as "high speed." A high rate of speed would imply acceleration not high speed because acceleration is the rate at which speed increases. Writers chosen to post on Autoblog should know better.
        Smythe
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Tourmaster
        You give reporters/writers too much credit.
        Nexus7
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Tourmaster
        "High rate of speed" doesn't even imply acceleration, because acceleration is a rate of change in speed. "High rate of speed" doesn't mean anything. Just like "Autoblog" doesn't mean much when they print stuff like that (it isn't in quotes, so it wasn't in jest).
      trzjax
      • 3 Years Ago
      Only in America...
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