- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 19, 2009

PHOENIX | An Arizona law officer was struck and killed by another officer’s patrol car late Thursday while he was laying down spike strips to stop a vehicle during a high-speed freeway chase.

The slain officer, Chris Marano, 28, was a father of four who worked for the Arizona Department of Public Safety for more than three years.

The chase reached speeds of 100 mph, starting after a vehicle was spotted on a north Phoenix freeway with a stolen license plate, Lt. Steve Harrison said. One DPS officer pursued the vehicle, and Marano laid down spike strips near an overpass in an attempt to stop the driver.

Witnesses said Officer Marano was standing in the right shoulder of the westbound freeway when he was hit by the DPS cruiser, Lt. Harrison said.

The fleeing driver exited the freeway, then fled on foot and was captured hiding on the balcony of a condominium.

Police arrested Georgia Lynn Baker, 43, of Phoenix. Miss Baker was bitten by a police dog and was expected to remain in the hospital Friday for surgery, DPS spokesman Bart Graves said.

Once she is released from the hospital, Miss Baker will be booked into Maricopa County Jail on felony murder charges in connection with Officer Marano’s death, Lt. Harrison said.

“Clearly she facilitated this event. All she had to do was stop, pull over to the shoulder and there would have never been a pursuit or this traffic collision resulting in the death of Officer Marano,” Lt. Harrison said.

DPS would not reveal the name of the officer who hit Officer Marano. That officer sustained a broken hand in the accident and will need surgery.

Lt. Harrison said the officer is shaken knowing his actions contributed to Officer Marano’s death.

“He knows he struck the officer. And now he knows that his actions contributed to the officer’s death,” Lt. Harrison said. “He’s having a very difficult time with that, as you can well imagine.”