Not surprisingly, playing Pokémon Go while driving is a poor idea. That was demonstrated early Monday in Southeast Baltimore.
Three police officers were standing outside their patrol car, parked nearby Patterson Park. About 3:30 a.m., according to body-camera footage, a Toyota RAV4 moving down the street side-swiped the parked police car.
Officers leaped aside, then went to check on the folks who were in the vehicle. The side of the RAV4 that hit the police car appeared damaged. “You guys okay?” one officer asked.
A young man stepped out of the driver’s seat as the other passengers stayed inside. He lifted his phone up to show the telltale Pokémon Go app. “That’s what I get for playing this dumb a– game,” the driver said, shaking his head.
Frustrated, the driver did not respond to the officer. Another passenger said they were fine. The video ends with a Baltimore police warning: “Don’t Drive Distracted #PlaySafe.” There’s a “no” sign over an eager hand clutching a phone with Pokémon Go open.
No one was injured, though the situation could have been grave if police were in the parked car or the driver was going faster. Baltimore police said they have not yet determined charges for the driver or released his name, the Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.
It’s yet another instance of Pokémon Go players taking risks for the mobile game. In Auburn, N.Y., a 28-year-old driver crashed into a tree and destroyed his car while playing, the Auburn Citizen reported July 13. Also last week, a 15-year-old Pennsylvanian girl damaged her collarbone and foot when the game led her into the middle of a busy highway, reported Pittsburgh’s WTAE Action News 4 July 13.
“You can’t wander aimlessly around,” Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith told the Sun. “Pay attention to your surroundings. There are way too many people that have their heads buried in their phones trying to catch a Pokemon and the criminals are catching you.”