911 dispatcher killed in police chase accident

July 10, 2011 8:45:29 PM PDT
A Chicago 911 dispatcher died after she was hit by a vehicle involved in a police chase through the Bucktown area.

Police say they have the suspect in custody. The accident happened just after 6 a.m. Sunday at Armitage and Hoyne.

"I've seen a lot of accidents at this corner but never anything like that. That's pretty bad. You don't want to see anybody get hurt," said witness Teddy Vejar.

On Sunday afternoon, the Cook County Medical Examiner identified the 911 call center dispatcher who was killed as Marciea Adkins, 42. She had worked at the Office of Emergency Management and Communication since December of 1996.

Investigators say Adkins was driving home after working the midnight shift when she was struck by another vehicle. Police say that vehicle was a silver Range Rover that had been stolen. According to the owner the Range Rover, his car was stolen on North Avenue as he left it running while paying for parking.

Police stopped the stolen vehicle at Blackhawk and Elston after the Range Rover ran a stop sign. Police say the pursuit began after the suspect reversed the SUV and struck a police supervisor's car. During the chase, the Range Rover also sent a parked car through a brick wall.

"I saw the police chasing somebody. I didn't see the car yet. And by the time I looked, he had come through the intersection and he hit that car. She was going, you know, eastbound, and he blew the stop sign, obviously, spun her around and pinned the car where you see it now," said neighborhood resident Steve Jensen.

Adkins' vehicle was hit about a mile away from where police began their pursuit of the SUV. Officers quickly caught the alleged thief who attempted to run away while a good Samaritan helped emergency crews free Adkins from the accident.

"The lady wasn't moving, she wasn't speaking or anything. Her lips were starting to look blue like she had already passed away, but I was still giving faith and hope that she would make it," said Frank, a witness.

Adkins eventually died from her injuries. Police say that Adkins' husband is also a 911 dispatcher.

In a written statement OEMC's Executive Director Gary Shenkel says Adkins was well liked by everyone, writing "according to her coworkers and supervisors, she was the nicest, most positive person you would ever want to meet."

"All I know is that this lady got hit and it shouldn't have happened, and the person that messed up is the person that walked out of that. So, that's all I know -- doesn't seem fair," Vejar said.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Police Department has a lengthy policy when it comes to pursuits. There is a balancing test where speed, volume of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and weather conditions are weighed before pursuing a car.

Statement by OEMC Executive Director Gary Schenkel regarding the death of a 911 police dispatcher

On behalf of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, we are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of a female police 911 dispatcher this morning. The dispatcher was driving home after her shift when she was struck and killed by another driver early this morning.

We are not releasing the dispatcher's name at this time pending the notification of next of kin. I also ask that the media respect the family's privacy during this difficult time.

She was 42 years old and had worked at the OEMC since December 1996. According to her coworkers and supervisors, she was the nicest, most positive person you would ever want to meet.

We extend our deepest sympathy to her family. Grief counselors will be on site to assist OEMC employees.

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