Caroline Welker, a guard on the Ohio Wesleyan University basketball team, was hit by a police cruiser in the early hours of Thanksgiving morning.
The police car slammed into Welker, a 21-year-old junior, as she was crossing at the crosswalk in Delaware, Ohio, where Ohio Wesleyan is located (see embed above). Welker, who was misidentified as “Walker” in some news reports, told the NBC News Columbus affiliate that “I have a concussion, and I’m really sore. But thankfully no broken bones.” She is recovering at home after receiving treatment at a local hospital.
The officer behind the wheel, Mark Jackson, was charged with failure to yield and paid a $135 fine without a court appearance. He reportedly was on the way to call and going about 15 MPH when he struck Welker. The same officer was apparently also involved in another on-duty driving incident two days before.
Delaware, Ohio, chief of police Bruce Pijanowski released a statement about the Caroline Welker incident that stated in part:
“… As protectors of the public, it is extremely upsetting that she was injured. The officer involved, Mark Jackson, has been cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian. Ofc. Jackson is a hard working and dedicated officer, serving with the Delaware Police Department for ten years.
“Ofc. Jackson acted appropriately after the incident. He immediately called for a medic and rendered first aid. He fully cooperated with the investigation. Pursuant to standard procedure, a urine sample was collected for analysis, the results of which are still pending. We do not anticipate that alcohol or drugs were any way involved in this incident. He does have a previous caution and counseling for a crash that occurred on Nov. 26, 2013.”
According to the Columbus Dispatch, a police cruiser operated by another officer hit a female student in a crosswalk on November 26. Both incidents involving pedestrians hit by police cruisers are now subject to an internal affairs investigation.