A Lexington firefighter who was driving a city fire truck that hit a pedestrian who died Saturday night has been placed on paid administrative leave. Firefighter Christopher Presley will be on leave while an investigation into the incident continues, city spokeswoman Susan Straub told the Herald-Leader on Monday. The city typically has placed employees on paid leave when they have been involved in similar investigations.
Police have said Presley was driving Fire Engine 9 when it struck Lauren Woodall Roady, 27, at West Main Street and South Broadway just after 10 p.m. Saturday. Roady, a Washington, D.C., attorney who was in town to compete in a cross-country running event, was pronounced dead at the scene a few minutes later.
Several questions about the accident remained unanswered Monday. Because the investigation is pending, city officials said they could not discuss certain details about the case.
Officials would not answer questions about whether Roady was in the crosswalk at the time of the accident. They would not say whether the traffic light was green for the truck as it made a left turn from Main Street to South Broadway or whether the walk signal indicated it was safe for pedestrians to cross.
On Sunday, investigators asked anyone who saw the accident to contact police. On Monday, investigators would not say whether there were any witnesses. They also would not say whether any nearby surveillance cameras had captured the accident on video.
Straub told a Herald-Leader reporter in an email that Presley was alone in the fire truck at the time; two firefighters who normally would have been on the truck had gone to St. Joseph Hospital with an ambulance crew.
Earlier in the evening, Engine 9 and the ambulance responded to a medical emergency in the Idle Hour area. Presley's two crew mates rode with the ambulance to the hospital because the ambulance's three-person crew was attending to the patient, she said. Presley was on the way to the hospital to pick up the two crew members when the accident occurred, police have said. Engine 9 operates out of Fire Station 9 on Richmond Road, across from the site of what had been Lexington Mall.
Police and city officials have said the 55,000-pound truck was making a left turn from Main Street onto South Broadway, and Roady was crossing Broadway from east to west when "contact was made between" Roady and the truck. Straub said Presley reported the accident. No other details have been made available.
The Herald-Leader has submitted an open records request for reports, diagrams and memos from the crash.
The accident was still the subject of speculation and conversation among shoppers and employees of nearby businesses Monday afternoon, but nobody said they saw what happened.
"I think most people saw the immediate aftermath," said Ryan Russell, who works nearby.
Russell said he heard at least three secondhand accounts of the accident, all different, from bar patrons on Saturday.
"I don't know that there's any merit to any one of those stories," he said.
A surveillance camera on a corner of the Hilton Lexington/Downtown, a few feet from the intersection of Main and Broadway, apparently was not pointed at the intersection when Roady was struck. Marty Rothchild, general manager of the hotel, said police had reviewed the video, but he did not think they found anything.
"As far as I'm aware, we don't have anything that would show what happened, unfortunately," he said.
Evidence at the intersection gave few clues. Florescent paint marked places where the fire engine and Roady's body came to a stop on Broadway between Main and Vine streets.
About 20 dots of the paint were placed in the crosswalk across South Broadway, but it was unclear what those dots signified. There were at least two scuff marks in the crosswalk. There were no apparent skid marks; the roads were wet when the accident occurred.
Roady, an attorney for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was in Lexington with members of the Georgetown Running Club from Washington to compete in the cross-country event earlier Saturday at Masterson Station Park.
A blog posting Monday by Jake Klim, a member of the Georgetown Running Club, indicated that Roady apparently ate dinner with her parents in downtown Lexington on Saturday night and might have been on her way to join fellow club members when she was struck.
Klim said on his blog that he saw Roady about 7 p.m. Saturday, and she told him she "had dinner plans with her parents who were in town from neighboring Tennessee."
Roady was from Knoxville, where her father, Jack Woodall, is an attorney.
Klim said on his blog that Roady told him she intended to meet him and other running team members after dinner with her parents. He said she walked away, and "That was the last time I saw her."
Klim said two teammates awakened him in his hotel room about 2 a.m. Sunday and told him Roady had been killed. Klim didn't name the hotel, but he said he could see the accident scene and flashing lights from his window.
Klim said on the blog that team members realized Saturday night that someone been hit just outside but never imagined it was someone they knew.
The Georgetown Running Club posted a memorial to Roady on is website Monday, saying her "steady, inspiring and cheerful presence will forever be missed."
Funeral arrangements for Roady were pending Monday night.
Written by Lexington Herald-Leader
Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix