- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 21, 2004

PHOENIX (AP) — A pedestrian struck by Bishop Thomas O’Brien’s car was bleeding heavily but still alive minutes after the hit-and-run, a woman testified yesterday at the clergyman’s trial.

Kellie Gonzalez, an 18-year-old pre-med student and lifeguard, said she stopped her car in the middle of a Phoenix street on the night of June 14 after she spotted a man lying in the road ahead.

“I’m a good Samaritan,” Miss Gonzalez said, testifying at Bishop O’Brien’s trial on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal accident. “I immediately put on my emergency lights to go out and help. I grabbed my cell phone and CPR mask.”

She put her ear over the victim’s nose to see if he was breathing and “he began to cough a few times. Eventually, he just stopped.” Miss Gonzalez said the man was bleeding from a head wound and she did not administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation “because his bleeding was so severe.” She called 911.

James Reed, a 43-year-old father of two, was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead.

Attorneys for the former head of the Phoenix diocese argue that Bishop O’Brien did not see Mr. Reed, who was in dark clothing, intoxicated and jaywalking. They also say Bishop O’Brien, 68, did not realize he had struck a person.

Earlier yesterday, another witness testified that he saw a “large object falling off the hood” of a car later identified as Bishop O’Brien’s.

Gerald Lewis, 63, said he circled back and saw Mr. Reed’s body in the road. Several cars had stopped, but Bishop O’Brien’s had not.

If convicted, Bishop O’Brien could be sentenced to almost four years in prison. The arrest prompted his resignation, ending his 21-year career as head of the Phoenix Roman Catholic Diocese.

The accident happened less than two weeks after prosecutors announced that Bishop O’Brien had reached a deal to avoid charges that he protected child-molesting priests.


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