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Officer hits pedestrian in morning crash

Washington Post Editors

UPDATE: Theresa Gibbs, a manager at the post office facility on Edgeworth Drive in Capitol Heights, said Prince George's County Police called her at about 10 a.m. to ask if an employee who was supposed to be at work that morning was not.

She said there was an employee who was supposed to report to work at 7 a.m. and never showed up. Police, she said, told her the employee had been involved in an accident, though they did not say where or when.

Police have said the man struck and critically injured by a police cruiser Tuesday possibly worked at the post office facility -- based on his clothing and the facility's proximity to the crash -- and was possibly returning home from work.

Gibbs said she had received word only about the employee who had not shown up. She declined to name that employee.

ORIGINAL POST: A Prince George's County police officer driving into work Tuesday struck and critically wounded a pedestrian who appeared to be a postal service employee on his way home from the midnight shift, authorities said.

The crash occurred about 6:20 am on Garrett A. Morgan Boulevard, about 100 feet back from Central Avenue, said Maj. Andrew Ellis, a police spokesman.

The officer was driving toward Central Avenue from the direction of FedEx Field when he collided with the pedestrian, who had stepped into the roadway, Ellis said.

Ellis said the pedestrian, a 62-year-old man from Washington, D.C., sustained critical injuries to his head and at least one lung. He was transported to Prince George's Hospital Center after the crash, and he remains there in critical condition.

Based on his clothing, he appeared to be some sort of employee at a nearby Postal Service facility and was possibly on his way home from work, Ellis said. The man was not a mail carrier, he said.

Ellis did not immediately identify the officer involved but said he was a five-year veteran assigned to the department's district two station.

The pedestrian was not in a crosswalk when he was struck, Ellis said, though it remains unclear why he had stepped into the roadway. There are crosswalks that cross Garrett A. Morgan Boulevard, though when a reporter went to the scene hours later, he saw one person run across without using them.

Ellis said one witness told investigators the officer was approaching a red light at the time of the collision, though those investigators believe the initial impact occurred 100 feet from the intersection with that light.

The impact damaged the driver's side window of the police cruiser's window and knocked the grill loose, Ellis said. The airbag, however, did not deploy, and the officer was unhurt.

Ellis said the crash was not strong enough to trigger the in-car camera. He said investigators are hoping to review the cruiser's "event data recorder," which captures engine RPM and whether the driver was wearing a seatbelt, among other things, after a crash.

The officer's speed will be a critical question: the limit in the area is 35.

Ellis said alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the crash; the officer, he said, was on his way to work. At least initially, he said, it appears no one will be charged.

"Initial investigation does not lead me to believe anybody's going to be cited, at least right now," Ellis said. "But I can tell you, this is going to be a thorough investigation."

-- Matt Zapotosky

By Washington Post Editors  |  September 14, 2010; 1:55 PM ET
Categories:  Matt Zapotosky , Pr. George's , Traffic Accidents  
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"A Prince George's County police officer driving into work Tuesday struck and critically wounded a pedestrian...."

Shouldn't it have said "critically injured" rather than wounded. No guns were fired to my knowledge.

Posted by: rrosen3 | September 14, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I wonder; how thorough will the investigation be????

Posted by: linebacker_1224 | September 14, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

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