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Collision with police car kills bicyclist

The San Diego Union-Tribune: Collision with police car kills bicyclist

Man, 63, pulls into path of cruiser at busy intersection
BY DEBBI BAKER, ELEANOR YANG SU
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2009 AT MIDNIGHT

San Diego police say the death of a 63-year-old bicyclist who collided with a police patrol car yesterday morning was an accident, prompted by the bicyclist’s abrupt left turn into the path of the car.

“It was an unfortunate accident,” said traffic Detective Dan Wall.

Walter Nichols Freeman of San Diego was an avid cyclist on a routine morning ride through University City.

Authorities said Freeman turned out of a gas station parking lot and headed south in the bike lane of Genesee Avenue about 7:15 a.m. Then, police say, he crossed a lane and collided with the patrol car about 40 feet north of the Governor Drive intersection.

The patrol car, which was responding to another accident, was traveling under the speed limit of 45 mph, Wall said.

The patrol officer works in the Northern Division and has been with the Police Department for 18 months. His name will be released today, police said. He has been placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation is complete, which is routine.

Police say the officer did not have his lights and sirens on, and he was not injured in the collision.

Debris was scattered in the busy intersection and the windshield of the patrol car was caved in and shattered on the right side. One of the patrol car’s lights was broken.

Freeman had been riding a white bike and was wearing a red helmet and vest with reflective patches. The helmet came off in the collision. He died at the scene.

Staff writer Jose Luis Jiménez contributed to this report.