Calif. Officer Hit Man He Was Sent to Help

A Los Gatos police officer en route Monday morning to assist a man who was reportedly lying on the road in need of help ended up striking the pedestrian and sending him to the hospital with major injuries, police reported.


A Los Gatos police officer en route Monday morning to assist a man who was reportedly lying on the road in need of help ended up striking the pedestrian and sending him to the hospital with major injuries, police reported.

Los Gatos-Monte Sereno Police Sgt. Kerry Harris said that the 25-year-old Los Gatos man is expected to live. The officer, four-year veteran Leo Coddington, was not placed on any type of administrative leave following the accident at about 5:45 a.m. on eastbound Highway 9, west of Highway 17.

"There is no indication that the officer did anything wrong," Harris said. "This is an outstanding officer with a clean driving record. This appears to be an accident."

According to Harris, a passerby called 911 about 5:43 a.m. to report spotting a man lying in the road on eastbound Highway 9. The officer was heading west, shining his spotlight on the eastbound lanes and looking for the man, Harris said. The officer then saw a pedestrian walk onto the roadway from the north side of the street.

And that's when Coddington's patrol car "collided with the pedestrian," Harris said. The officer did not have time to take evasive action, Harris said.

The pedestrian was not in a crosswalk when he was struck by the officer's car, Harris said.

The pedestrian exhibited symptoms of alcohol intoxication and was accompanied by Los Gatos/Monte Sereno Police personnel to Valley Medical Center, Harris said. At VMC, the man was conscious and talking with staff.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the accident, Harris said, which is procedure anytime a Los Gatos/Monte Sereno officer is involved in a injury traffic collision. Some of the investigation will include trying to find out why the 25-year-old man was reported to be down on the road in the first place.

Still, Harris noted that both drivers and pedestrians have a responsibility to be safe and aware of their surroundings.

"We urge people to drive safely," Harris said, "and we urge pedestrians to walk safely. Sadly, when you have cars and pedestrians together, accidents sometimes do occur. And we hate for that to happen."

Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to contact the California Highway Patrol at 408-467-5400.

Contact Mark Gomez at 408-920-5869 ormgomez@mercurynews.com . Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-920-5002 or lfernandez@mercurynews.com

Copyright 2008 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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