UPDATED with age of girl, new details on police car
ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis County police officer struck a 12-year-old girl Monday evening along Halls Ferry Road and Riverview Boulevard.
The girl was taken to a hospital, where police on Tuesday said she was in critical condition. She was conscious and breathing at the scene.
The SUV hit the girl at about 5:45 p.m. Monday in the 8900 block of Halls Ferry Road.
Bystanders said the county police officer was chasing a car when she was hit, but St. Louis Police Capt. Perri Johnson said he could not confirm that there was a pursuit in progress.
Police didn't clarify Tuesday whether it was a pursuit or not. That question seemed to be bounced from one department to the other.
County police spokesman Sgt. Benjamin Granda referred all reporters' questions about the incident to the St. Louis Police Department, which he said is leading the investigation.
St. Louis Police Officer Michelle Woodling, in an email to reporters Tuesday, said in part: "Anything relating to the circumstances or conduct of the officer prior to the accident should be directed to St. Louis County PD. We understand that there are and will be questions surrounding this investigation, and we will be as open and transparent as possible as this investigation continues."
Woodling said the city police's preliminary investigation found that the 25-year-old St. Louis County police officer involved did not have his emergency lights and siren turned on when his SUV hit the girl. The county officer hasn't been identified.
"After the accident, the officer immediately stopped, reported it, and he is cooperating with our investigation," Woodling said.
At the scene Monday night, some bystanders complained that an ambulance took too long to respond.
Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson said his department got the call for a pedestrian struck at 5:50 p.m. and dispatched a pumper to the scene, which arrived at 5:55 p.m. Four firefighters on board are trained EMS responders, so they worked to treat the teen at the scene, he said.
"They are fully trained, but they just can't transport," Jenkerson said.
The closest ambulance had to be dispatched from Barnes-Jewish Hospital and didn't arrive until 6:15 p.m., he said.
"We run 12 ambulances and everyone was out working calls at that time," Jenkerson said.
Jenkerson said the girl's injuries "sounded critical."
During their investigation, police blocked traffic in both directions in the 8900 block of Halls Ferry Road near the Halls Ferry Circle.
Kim Bell of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated since police now say the girl is 12 years old. Police on Monday night provided a different age.