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Posted at 4:37 PM ET, 09/14/2010

Pedestrian struck by Pr. Geo.'s officer dies

By Washington Post editors

The postal worker struck by a Prince George's County police officer who was driving to work Tuesday morning has died.

Ronald Burgess, 62, of D.C., was walking across Garrett A. Morgan Boulevard when he was struck by a police officer traveling from the area of FedEx Field toward Central Avenue at about 6:20 a.m., authorities said. Maj. Andrew Ellis, a Prince George’s County police spokesman, said Burgess was about 100 feet back of the intersection and not in a crosswalk when he was struck. He also was wearing dark colored clothing, apparently related to his postal service job, Ellis said.

“There’s nothing to indicate, at least initially, that the officer was at fault,” Ellis said. “It appears it was a tragic accident.”

Burgess was transported to a nearby hospital, where he died about 2 p.m., according to police and family members. The officer, who was in uniform and in his marked cruiser, was not hurt, authorities said.

--Matt Zapotosky

12:44 p.m.
A Prince George's County police officer driving into work Tuesday struck and critically wounded a pedestrian who was believed 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 District man, sustained critical injuries to his head and at least one lung. He was transported to Prince George's Hospital Center after the crash, where he was in critical condition. Based on his clothing, he appeared to be an employee at a nearby Postal Service facility, Ellis said. The man was not a mail carrier, he added.

Theresa Gibbs, a manager at the post office facility on Edgeworth Drive in Capitol Heights, said Prince George's County Police called her about 10 a.m. to ask if an employee who was supposed to be at work was not. She said there was an employee who was supposed to report to work at 7 a.m. and never. Police, she said, told her an employee had been involved in an accident, though they did not say where or when.

Gibbs declined to name the employee

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 on Garrett A. Morgan Boulevard. When when a reporter went to the scene hours after the accident, however, he saw one person cross 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 back from the intersection with the 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." 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; 4:37 PM ET
Categories:  Maryland, Traffic and Transportation  
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Comments

Prayers to all involved.

Posted by: slydell | September 14, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

How likely is it that the cop was speeding? Remember, cops don't have to obey the speed limit.

Posted by: baronflyer55 | September 15, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Is the investigation complete? How fast was the cop going and who was he talking to on his cell phone (have you seen a cop not talking on his/her phone while driving)? Being a police office is the only profession I know of where the employee is paid to talk to his/her family and friends all day long. We need to ban the police from using cell phones while working.

“There’s nothing to indicate, at least initially, that the officer was at fault,” Ellis said. “It appears it was a tragic accident.”

Posted by: neil64 | September 15, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

At least the PGC officer involved didn't shoot a dog afterwards.

Posted by: Apostrophe | September 15, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

You know sometimes accidents happen. I am a cautious driver and I have nearly hit pedestrians wearing dark clothing at night; you just can't see them sometimes and as a pedestrian you need to be aware of this. Speed is not a factor it is just dark and they are in dark clothing which makes them harder to see.

Posted by: flonzy1 | September 15, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

This may have been a totally unavoidable accident involving a decent person driving responsibily.
But if I had been the driver, I doubt I would have been presumed to be innocent before the 'investigation'.
I had near miss(es) at an unlighted intersection (Fanwood, NJ), almost hitting unlighted bikes riden by darkly-clothed riders. Drivers who were not so lucky in similar circumstances found themselves guilty of death by motor vehicle per decisions by the NJ Supreme Court. At least in NJ, the bike rider is legally always right even when wrong; the driver always guilty even when right.

Posted by: dongrahamwp | September 15, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Prince George's police officers are big speeders. They often scare the bejesus out of me when they come up fast behind. Such a poor role model for citizens and youth.
Charles

Posted by: Towards_Light | September 15, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

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