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Columbus: Police chase of robbery suspect yields tragic accident

There is no way to soften or finesse a news report commanding public interest that is of a truly tragic nature. That is certainly the case involving the details of a car accident that occurred early last Friday just northwest of Columbus. Six people died in the crash, with a police officer also being injured.

The accident occurred at an intersection with traffic lights, when the officer collided with a passenger vehicle that a subsequent police investigation report states had inexplicably stopped in the middle of the intersection.

All six occupants of that vehicle, a Toyota Corolla, died in the collision. The fatal victims were all members of a single family — a husband and wife and their four daughters. Police say that no family member was wearing a seat belt and that the youngest daughter, aged 2, was not in a child restraint. The police officer was admitted to a local hospital following the crash and reported as being in stable condition.

The crash was Ohio’s deadliest thus far in 2013. It was precipitated by a massive police response to a report of a robbery at a nearby fast-food restaurant. A police official stated that a video camera installed in the injured officer’s cruiser shows the officer entering the intersection while the light was still green and just turning to yellow.

Reportedly, that same footage also shows the Corolla being fully stopped in the middle of the intersection, which flatly puzzles police. There is speculation that the driver appreciated that he had run a red light and was trying to back up or, alternatively, that he saw the oncoming police vehicle and simply panicked, coming to a complete stop.

“We can only speculate, because we’ll probably never know,” said one police official.

Source: Washington Post, “Police: 6 relatives killed, officer hurt in crash between cruiser, car near Ohio’s capital,” Associated Press, Oct. 18, 2013