July 4, 2022

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Ohio police officer cleared in case of hitting with patrol vehicle wounded man who later died.

An Ohio grand jury declined to indict a police officer who last year was driving a patrol vehicle that struck a wounded man who later died, authorities said.

Eric Cole, 42, who was previously wounded, was run over by a Springfield Police Department vehicle on June 13, 2021. Cole later died.Springfield Police Department

Springfield Police Officer Amanda Rosales faced potential charges of reckless vehicle homicide and negligent vehicle homicide but was not indicted by a Clark County grand jury, according to an announcement Wednesday by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.Dashcam video from Rosales’ cruiser showed her run over Eric Cole, 42, who is Black, as he bled in the middle of a street from a gunshot wound to his left arm on June 13, 2021.

The incident happened about 11:30 p.m. Cole was airlifted to a hospital and died shortly after midnight.

Anthony Pierson, senior assistant attorney general, said Wednesday, Rosales was alone in her squad vehicle when she was looking for addresses of homes and driving about 17 mph while trying to locate the shooting victim when the vehicle struck Cole.

An autopsy determined Cole’s gunshot wound was not life threatening. Pierson said Cole had alcohol and cocaine in his system, which may have played a role as to why he was in the middle of the street.

“She did not see Mr. Cole lying in the road,” Pierson said. “He died as a result of blunt-force trauma to the torso area, not from the single gunshot wound he received.”

An attorney believed to be representing the Cole family could not be reached Friday. Cole’s relatives were also not reached.

Rosales, the Springfield Police Department and the union representing officers, could not be reached for comment Friday.

According to evidence presented to the grand jury, Cole called 911 shortly before he was struck by the police vehicle.

He repeatedly told a dispatcher he was dying. He also said he was in the middle of the street, which, Pierson said, was not conveyed to responding officers verbally by the dispatcher but was inputted into a police database which is in police vehicles, Pierson said.

Officers generally don’t look at their computer monitors while driving “because of the dangerousness of the situation,” Pierson said.

According to the 911 call from Cole, he told the dispatcher: “They just hit me.”

The dispatcher responded, “Who hit you?”

“The police,” Cole said.

Rosales was placed on paid leave last year after the incident. Her status with the department Friday was unclear.

Yost called Cole’s death a “tragic situation.”

But he said the prior to being fatally struck, Cole’s then-girlfriend broke up with him and he physically assaulted her. Cole’s ex-girlfriend received medical attention and contacted police about the assault, Yost said.

Yost said, Cole, upset about the breakup, went looking for his ex-girlfriend and had a gun he fired.

“He went out the night in question and created his own personal Wild West in Springfield,” Yost said.

Pierson said before he was shot, Cole went to a neighborhood that his ex-girlfriend would frequent looking for her. He could not find her and got into an altercation with two brothers and began firing, one of whom fired back, and struck Cole.

Cole then drove less than a mile away, returned a vehicle he had borrowed, discarded a 9 mm handgun and a sweatshirt he was wearing, and apparently wandered into the street where he spoke to the 911 dispatcher, Pierson said.