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Bicyclist Killed in Collision with Police Car

by John Gomez | Last Updated: November 9, 2009

Updated November 10, 2009 – A 63-year-old man was killed Monday when the bicycle he was riding collided with a police car on a University City street during the morning rush hour.

Walter Freeman of San Diego pedaled out of a gas station in the 3800 block of Governor Drive shortly before 7:30 a.m., crossed the southbound side of the roadway and rode directly into the path of the cruiser, which was traveling southbound in the far-left lane, according to police and the county Medical Examiner’s Office.  Mr. Freeman died at the scene.

Mr. Freeman’s family said he was a semi-retired engineer, married, and an expert cyclist.  

“He does have extensive biking experience, he was always really cautious when he rode, more careful than most” said step-daughter Yvonne Nieto. “One thing Walt always conveyed to me was to stay on the side of caution.”

Nieto would often be Freeman’s riding partner. “He collected bikes, he had several bikes in his garage and he was very passionate about riding.”

The involved officer, who has been with the SDPD for 18 months, was uninjured. At the time of the crash, the patrolman was en route to investigate a non-urgent traffic accident call and had not activated the cruiser’s roof lights and siren, according to police.

According to SDPD traffic Detective Dan Wall, Mr. Freeman was wearing bright clothing including an orange helmet and a vest with a lime green and yellow patch on it.

Wall also said that the squad car was traveling below the posted speed limit at the time of the accident.

The officer involved will be placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues into who is at fault and what happened.

Freeman’s family has “some concerns” about the officer’s actions and looking forward to hearing about the investigation. 

In the interim, they are grateful Walt pursued his passion until the end. “You couldn’t ask for any more than a loved one to go doing what they love most and was very happy to trek out on his bike.”

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