Woman dies after being run over by police cruiser

OVER THE RHINE, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police say one of their officers ran over a homeless woman Tuesday in Washington Park, killing her.

Investigators say Officer Marty Polk, a 25-year veteran of the force, was on routine patrol in the park when he heard a thump. He got out of the car and the woman, who was laying under a blanket, told him, "You ran over my legs."

Emergency crews were called to the scene and transported the woman to the hospital, where she died. She has been identified as Joann Burton, 48.

Police chief Tom Streicher says it is not standard procedure for officers to drive through the park, but it's not unusual.

"It wouldn't be unusual for an officer when you have dry conditions like this. The ground is hard as a rock, (and it's) not unusual for an officer to go through the grass to look around," said Streicher.

Several top police officials responded to the scene, as did the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office. There's no word on if any charges will be filed.

Officials with the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless say they are furious with the situation and plan to hire an attorney.

Burton was a married mother of three. Her husband had stepped away for a moment when the incident happened.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the incident and will perform an accident reconstruction. The Hamilton County Coroner's Office will determine how the woman died.

City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. released in a statement Tuesday saying, "Today's incident is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by it.  I ask the community to keep all involved in their prayers as well."

A vigil was held Tuesday night for Burton.

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