Ohio officer disciplined in pedestrian death

Cincinnati Enquirer

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio - The Middletown police officer who hit and killed a pedestrian in January while responding to a call violated internal policies by driving too fast and has agreed to a 15-day suspension, police officials announced today.

David Kirsch, a 10-year veteran of the police department, entered into an agreement with the city of Middletown to waive his grievance rights for any future sustained policy violation, Police Chief Mike Bruck said in a statement.

A Butler County grand jury declined earlier this year to indict Kirsch on criminal charges in the Jan. 21 death of Donald McCray, 75.

 Kirsch still faced the possibility of departmental discipline if an internal investigation concluded he violated policies.

Kirsch was driving his cruiser toward the scene of an officer being assaulted when he hit and killed McCray, who was walking outside a designated crosswalk on Grand Boulevard near the Grand Illusion bar.

Bruck could not immediately be reached for comment today. But a recent report to him from Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper sheds light on the case.

Piper cited several factors that culminated in the crash:

-- Kirsch drove 89 mph to 93 mph when his cruiser hit McCray, and Kirsch "took evasive action to try to avoid hitting Mr. McCray," Piper wrote. That area has a 35-mph speed limit.

-- McCray continued walking at least a dozen feet past the point where the sirens and lights on Kirsch's vehicle should have been noticed.

"It is likely the accident would have been avoided, had Mr. McCray stopped his forward progress just a step or two sooner," Piper wrote. "In other words, this tragic event could not have happened but for a series of factors which combined together…Every tragedy does not necessarily rise to the level of criminal offense."

Copyright 2007 Cincinnati Enquirer

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