- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 22, 2005

A D.C. Council member yesterday said he plans to ask city fire officials whether procedures were followed last week after a deputy chief hit a child in an intersection and left the scene before a police investigation was conducted.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Phil Mendelson said he will raise the issue at the fire department’s April 12 oversight hearing.

“I didn’t realize this until I read The [Washington] Times,” said the at-large Democrat, whose committee oversees the fire department. “The thing that disturbs me the most is that, if there has to be an accident, the city should be bending over backwards to help the family.”

The Times reported yesterday that Deputy Chief Beatrice Rudder was driving a fire department-owned Ford Excursion when she struck an 11-year-old boy in a crosswalk in the 900 block of G Street NE at about 3:35 p.m. on March 15.

Chief Rudder left before police investigated the accident, according to a police report and fire officials. She has not returned several calls seeking comment.

Officials are investigating whether Chief Rudder followed procedures when she alerted emergency dispatchers to the accident via radio.

“The case is under review,” said fire department spokesman Alan Etter.

Mr. Etter said Chief Rudder remains on full duty, adding that he could provide no other details.

Chief Rudder, 51, joined the department in 1978 and was the first woman to complete firefighter training in the District. She was one of three finalists for the fire chief’s job in 2002, after Chief Ronnie Few resigned.

Officials are trying to find out whether Chief Rudder requested that Metropolitan Police Department officers respond to the accident scene.

Fire department sources said several emergency medical services workers who went to the scene were asked to write special reports about the incident yesterday.

Fire officials said that, several hours after the accident, Chief Rudder went to a police station to see whether a report had been filed. When she learned there was no police report, she filed one at the 5th Police District headquarters.

The accident occurred in the 1st Police District.

The boy’s father, Ron Kenney, told The Times that no one contacted him or his family about a police report. He was unable to find the report at the 1st Police District headquarters, when he requested it so he could be reimbursed for his son’s medical expenses.

A police spokesman yesterday said it is not unusual for accident reports to be filed in a different police district.

“Reports sometimes are taken in other districts, and eventually, the report is funneled to the district where the accident occurred,” said police department spokesman Officer Kenneth Bryson.

Officer Bryson could not say how long the process usually takes.

The Rudder report had not been transferred to the 1st District as of Friday. It was found Monday in the 5th District, six days after the accident occurred. The report states that the accident occurred in the 5th District.

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