Court disagrees over vehicular involvement in post-chase fire
A Sterling Heights police officer chased a "bad check" suspect at high speed through Macomb County. Eventually, the suspect struck a SMART bus, but drove away. His car was discovered, smoking, in a nearby condominium garage. Officers could not put out the fire with extinguishers, and eventually the condominium garage structure burned to the ground. SAFECO insured the suspect's vehicle and re-paid the condominium owner's insurer for the property damage. It then sought pro rata reimbursement from the insurers of the other motor vehicles involved in the chase and collision.The Court of Appeals addressed the issue but could not agree on the public policy decision of whether the chasing police car and the bus that was struck were "involved" in the incident that caused the condominium fire. One judge looked at the existing cases and saw a line of "proximate cause" demonstrating that the chasing vehicle and the bus were so "involved" in the accident that the condominium fire arose out of the use of all three vehicles. The majority, however, deemed it wise to cut-off the "proximate cause" analysis at the point where the stunned suspect drove away from the bus collision.