Of­fi­cer In­jured In Good Fri­day Pro­ces­sion

The Washington Post Sunday - - The Region - By Henri E. Cau­vin

A D.C. po­lice of­fi­cer was cling­ing to life last night af­ter a freak mishap dur­ing a Good Fri­day pro­ces­sion on a North­west Wash­ing­ton street, au­thor­i­ties said.

Of­fi­cer Wayne Pitt was block­ing traf­fic for the pa­rade of wor­shipers shortly af­ter 9 p.m. Fri­day when he re­al­ized that a mo­tor scooter was about to breach a po­lice line at Mount Pleas­ant and La­mont streets, po­lice said.

Pitt, 57, got out of his po­lice cruiser to stop the scooter op­er­a­tor but re­al­ized that he had left his car in gear, po­lice said.

What fol­lowed is still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Po­lice be­lieve that Pitt rushed back to the car to try to put it in park but that the ve­hi­cle con­tin­ued for­ward, strik­ing the scooter, a parked car and fi­nally a tree.

Pitt was hurt, but the ex­tent of his in­juries did not be­come clear un­til yes­ter­day, when he un­der­went ad­di­tional surgery at Wash­ing­ton Hospi­tal Cen­ter, po­lice said.

The of­fi­cer is in “very crit­i­cal con­di­tion,” Sgt. Joe Gen­tile, a D.C. po­lice spokesman, said last night.

Pitt, as­signed to the 3rd Po­lice Dis­trict, has been a D.C. of­fi­cer for al­most five years. He was a po­lice of­fi­cer in North Carolina for 20 years.

Coun­cil mem­ber Jim Gra­ham (DWard 1), who rep­re­sents the area where the of­fi­cer was in­jured, said that once again, im­pa­tience ap­peared to be at the root of a traf­fic ac­ci­dent in the Dis­trict. “There are just too many peo­ple on the street who won’t slow down,” Gra­ham said.

Po­lice Chief Cathy L. Lanier, who went to meet with Pitt’s fam­ily, said the de­part­ment hopes for the best. “We pray for his full re­cov­ery,” she said in a state­ment.

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