Retired officer dies after being struck leading funeral processi - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Retired officer dies after being struck leading funeral procession

Police said George Brooks, 63, was operating at 1998 BMW motorcycle west on West Liberty Street when he struck a 1995 Oldsmobile 88 driven by 30-year-old Anton Palmer (Photo: FOX19 NOW/ Lindsey Wopschall) Police said George Brooks, 63, was operating at 1998 BMW motorcycle west on West Liberty Street when he struck a 1995 Oldsmobile 88 driven by 30-year-old Anton Palmer (Photo: FOX19 NOW/ Lindsey Wopschall)
Brooks was ejected from his motorcycle and sustained life threatening head injuries (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Lindsey Wopschall) Brooks was ejected from his motorcycle and sustained life threatening head injuries (Photo: FOX19 NOW/Lindsey Wopschall)
Forest Park Police said George Brooks was with the force for 25 years and retired in 2005 (Photo: Forest Park Police Department) Forest Park Police said George Brooks was with the force for 25 years and retired in 2005 (Photo: Forest Park Police Department)
WEST END, OH (FOX19) - A retired Forest Park Police officer has died after being struck by a vehicle while leading a funeral procession on a motorcycle over the weekend, officials announced early Monday.

George Brooks was 63. He was with Forest Park police 25 years before retiring in 2005.

Brooks was hit about 1:30 p.m. Saturday on West Liberty Street near the intersection of Linn Street. A funeral procession was leaving from St. Mary's church in Over-The-Rhine and was heading to Spring Grove Cemetery.

He was driving a 1998 BMW motorcycle west on West Liberty Street when a 1995 Oldsmobile 88 struck him as the Oldsmobile driver, Anton Palmer, 30, turned onto West Liberty Street from Lockhurst Lane. 

Brooks was ejected from his motorcycle and critically hurt.  He was wearing a  helmet. He was transported to University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Authorities say Palmer was not injured and wore his seatbelt.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation. Alcohol and speed are not factors, Cincinnati police said. No charges have been filed, but the driver could face charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies depending on the outcome of the investigation.

"He could be facing a charge of vehicular assault or aggravated vehicular assault," said FOX19 NOW legal analyst Mike Allen. "Vehicular assault is a misdemeanor and aggravated vehicular assault is a felony. It's easily aggravated vehicular assault if there are substances involved or the person is under the influence,” Allen said.

According to Ohio Revised Code 4511.451, drivers "shall yield the right of way to each vehicle that is a part of a funeral procession."  "Once the lead vehicle in a funeral procession lawfully enters an intersection, the remainder of the vehicles in the procession may continue to follow the lead vehicle through the intersection not withstanding any traffic control devices or right of way provisions." Each car should exercise due care to avoid colliding with any other vehicle or pedestrian. 

Robert Grunn, funeral director for Grunn Funeral Home says many funeral homes hire retired or off-duty police officers to serve as escorts for processions. Despite funeral flags on procession vehicles, flashers and headlights and yellow lights for escorts, some drivers still ignore the law.

"Oh people just not realizing what is going on and they'll cut in,” said Grunn. “The escorts will always go off to the side where traffic should not be affecting them but it does not always work that way."

Another accident occurred two blocks east at West Liberty Street and John Street about two minutes prior to the retired officer being hit. The driver of the final car in the funeral procession said he was rear-ended. No injuries were reported.

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