Mesa officer hits, kills woman lying in dark street

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MESA -- Mesa police are investigating one of their own officers after a fatal accident.

An officer in an unmarked police car was driving along Apache Trail near 96th Street when he hit and killed a woman.

It happened at about 10:30 Thursday night. The officer was on duty at the time.

Sgt. Ed Wessing of the Mesa Police Department said the intersection where it happened was very dark.

"As he was heading into the intersection, he saw -- at the very last minute -- feet and possibly knees of somebody who was lying in the roadway," Wessing said. "[While he was slowing down to make a turn], he was unable to stop his car [in time]."

The officer, whose name has not been released, got out and discovered a woman trapped under his car. He immediately called for paramedics.

Fire crews were able to lift the car off the woman. She was taken to Maricopa County Medical Center where she later died.

"We're just not sure why she was lying in the roadway, if she was passed out or if she was lying in the roadway intentionally," Wessing said.

Wessing said they do know the woman's name, but have not yet been able to contact her next of kin. All police are saying at this point is that she's a 50-year-old white female.

A man claiming to be the woman's boyfriend showed up at the scene and told officers they had been drinking at their home, which isn't far away.

"At some point, they got into an argument and she left," Wessing said. "That was the last she had been seen."

Wessing said the officer is on administrative leave, which is standard procedure when an officer comes under investigation.

"The initial portion of the investigation doesn't show any fault on the part of the officer," Wessing said. "I don't anticipate there being any citations or charges ...."

Wessing said the officer is extremely distraught.

"You just don't expect to come across an individual at 10:30 at night lying in the roadway," he said.