Ask a Trooper: Crash witness
Question: If a person is a witness to an accident, are they required to come forward to the law enforcement agency investigating the accident and notify the agency of such information?
Answer: It depends on the totality of all of the circumstances but our “Good Samaritan Law” (M.S.S. 604A.01) states (in subdivision one) that: “A person at the scene of an emergency who knows that another person is exposed to or has suffered grave physical harm shall, to the extent that the person can do so without danger or peril to self or others, give reasonable assistance to the exposed person. Reasonable assistance may include obtaining or attempting to obtain aid from law enforcement or medical personnel. A person who violates this subdivision is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.”
While this statute does not seem to clarify the matter for all cases, it does make sense that whatever you do or don’t do, a person should be prepared to explain why action was or was not taken. The intent of the statute is (to make sure) we are not just driving by someone in need, jeopardizing their life or limb. In all cases, we need to use common sense on this issue. Thanks for asking.
If you have any questions for future columns concerning motor vehicle traffic in Minnesota, please send your questions to: “ASK A TROOPER” c/o Sgt. Curt S. Mowers, Minnesota State Patrol, 7694 Industrial Park Road, Suite 2 Baxter, MN 6425 or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with Ask a Trooper in the subject line. Questions are edited.