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Published: 12/27/2006

Officer, woman injured in emergency-run crash

BY CHRISTINA HALL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Toledo police and fire departments investigate the scene of a collision involving a police cruiser. Toledo police and fire departments investigate the scene of a collision involving a police cruiser.
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A Toledo police officer on an emergency run to a suicide call lost control of his cruiser and collided with a woman's car near Swan Creek Metropark in South Toledo yesterday.

Officer Daniel Gardner, 47, and Virginia Matuszek, 80, of South Toledo, were taken to University Medical Center after the accident in the 4200 block of Glendale Avenue just before 10 a.m., police said.

The officer received a deep cut to the back of his head that had to be stapled shut, while Ms. Matuszek sustained a broken ankle and bruises, police said. A hospital spokesman had no information about either driver.

The woman who called police on the suicide attempt did not injure herself, said Assistant Chief Don Kenney of the Toledo police. She was taken to Rescue Crisis Mental Health Services and will be cited for making false alarms. She has called police more than once threatening suicide, he said.

Officer Gardner, a 22-year veteran who is a trained member of the department's crisis intervention team, was already headed to the suicide call when dispatchers advised him the caller was trying to cut her throat, Assistant Chief Kenney said.

After activating his lights and siren, Officer Gardner lost control of his westbound cruiser while rounding a curve on the wet road. The patrol car crossed the center turn lane and spun around, and its rear passenger side collided with the front of Ms. Matuszek's eastbound Mercury Grand Marquis.

The officer's cruiser spun clockwise and stopped on the eastbound side of the road, facing westbound, in front of 4221 Glendale and beside a line of trees. The accident occurred between Park Forest Drive and Park Ridge Lane.

Both drivers were wearing seat belts. Both cars sustained severe damage and are believed to be total losses.

Speed is not considered to have been a factor in the crash. Officer Gardner was determined to be driving about 45 mph on a section of Glendale that has a 40-mph speed limit, police said.

"The officer was responding Code 3. He was within the speed limit of the [department] manual," Assistant Chief Kenney said, adding that Officer Gardner "is a good officer with a good record."

The assistant chief said neither driver will be cited, but there will be an internal review by the department because an officer was involved in an accident.

"[The officer] was in the line of duty, responding to life-threatening calls that fall within department guidelines," he said.

Assistant Chief Kenney said officers who cause accidents and are not responding to a Code 3 call "are issued citations like anyone else."

Last year, Marilyn Williams, 68, and her 37-year-old daughter, Deborah Williams, were killed by a drunk driver near where yesterday's accident occurred.

Michael Mick, 51, of 1044 Kinder Rd. was given the maximum 10-year prison sentence in their deaths. He received consecutive five-year sentences for two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and his driver's license was suspended for life.

The women were killed in a five-car pileup on July 29, 2005, when Mick's westbound car went left of center on Glendale near Heatherton Drive. His blood-alcohol level was nearly six times the legal limit for a driver in Ohio.

Contact Christina Hall at:

chall@theblade.com

or 419-724-6007.



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