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Baltimore Officer Undergoes Surgery After Fall

Baltimore Police Officer Teresa Rigby remained in critical condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center Wednesday after falling from an elevated section of Interstate 83 near the Pepsi plant, hospital and police officials said.

Rigby underwent surgery hours after Tuesday's accident, said hospital spokeswoman Cindy Rivers. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the officer has another surgery scheduled Wednesday. He said doctors put a rod in her leg and she was undergoing facial reconstruction and had a fractured pelvis.

"She has an incredibly long road ahead of her," the spokesman said. "It's very unclear how long she'll be in the hospital."

The 27-year-old officer had been standing near a disabled vehicle Tuesday morning when a Saab rammed the back of her cruiser. Police had not initially known whether the officer jumped to avoid being struck by her own car, or had been struck.

Police said a news conference Wednesday that she did not jump off the bridge intentionally, but rather had been knocked off the bridge and landed on a concrete parking lot, a drop of 25 to 30 feet.

City police declined to release the names of others involved in the accident -- the drivers of the Saab, the tow truck and the disabled vehicle -- citing the pending investigation by the police accident team and the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office.

Rivers, the Shock Trauma spokeswoman, said that the driver of the Saab was treated and released Tuesday afternoon. Alcohol did not seem to be a factor in the crash, Guglielmi said, though he could not say whether the driver was distracted by a cellphone or perhaps the patrol car's flashing lights.

"It's been documented that when there is an accident on the road, people get attracted by the flashing lights," he said. "When they do that, they sometimes steer into that scene, and that is how tragedies happen."

Rigby lives in Baltimore County, just over the city line near Northwest Baltimore's Seton Business Park. A small sign on her modest, two-story home's door reads, "Firefighters, Save our Pets!"

Rigby's next door neighbor, Keisha Henry, called Rigby a pleasant neighbor and said she was often outside walking her two dogs.

"She is a really, really nice person," Henry said. "She always had a smile on her face."

Henry said that Rigby mostly kept to herself and that she had not been living in the house long. Henry said she was shocked about the accident and is "praying for her and her family."

Another neighbor, Willie Fulton, shared her concern and said, "She's a good neighbor ... I hope she makes out alright."

McClatchy-Tribune News Service