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October 5, 2010

Suspect surrenders in hit-and-run death of bicycling police officer

Filed under: bicycling — Tags: , — Roger @ 12:49 am

A 61-year-old Indianapolis woman turned herself in Monday as the result of a hit-and-run accident that killed a Greenfield, Ind., police officer who was riding his bicycle.

Sue Anne Vanderbeck, turned herself in Monday afternoon to the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, said Maj. Derek Towle of the Greenfield Police Department.Vanderbeck is charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing death, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Vanderbeck was charged with with leaving the scene of an accident causing death, a felony charge in Indiana that carries a four-year prison term.

Officer William Phillips, 32, was killed early Thursday when a vehicle struck his bicycle while he was training with two other officers along U.S. 40 in Henry Count.

“We’re relieved that an arrest has been made,” Towle told the Star. “There’s still a long way to go. We realize that. But at least we can start to get some closure.”

WISH-TV, Channel 8, in Indianapolis reported investigators said Vanderbeck, who police say was singing to calm her 4-year-old autistic child when the accident took place, later realized that object was a person and there were two other people with him, but Vanderbeck never stopped to help them.

“I think there will be evidence that she panicked; she was scared, she panicked,” Henry County Prosecutor Kit Crane told WISH. Here’s video from WISH:

In a story posted Thursday, the Star reported that Phillips and the other officers was riding with gear that made them visible.

“Their shift ends at 10 p.m., and that’s when the three of them would bicycle all the time,” Greenfield Mayor Brad DeReamer told the Star. “They had all the protective gear with (glow) sticks and flashing red lights and reflective material — everything you could have.”

Phillips had started the department’s bicycle patrol unit and took rides throughout the United States, the Star reported.

If you want to get your blood boiling, read the comments on these stories. There are a lot of hoosiers in Indiana — and I’m using the St. Louis definition of hoosier, which is the equivalent of a redneck — and they’re not afraid to share their ignorant views.

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