Paralyzed man hit and killed by police officer | News
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Loved ones of Harold Fleming, Jr. are in mourning over his death. Authorities say a St. Petersburg Police officer hit and killed the paralyzed 45-year-old while he was crossing a street in the wheelchair he'd spent most of his life in.
"I just felt terrible. I just felt terrible," said Pat Diebold, Fleming's neighbor for more than 30 years.
Detectives say Fleming was crossing 38th Avenue North near 64th Street early Sunday morning when a police officer in a marked cruiser slammed into him, throwing him from his wheelchair.
Investigators say the officer, identified as Mehmedin Karic, was not responding to a call at the time. They add that Fleming was wearing dark clothing and Officer Karic never saw him coming. They also say a street light near the intersection was not working when the crash occured.
Diebold says Fleming was paralyzed from the chest down at age 17 after a motorcycle accident, but didn't let it hold him back. "He's been such a trooper, being paralyzed. He still had such a good attitude, such a trooper," she said.
Through an email, Fleming's sister calls him "the absolute best" and says he will be missed "more than any can know."
An investigation into the accident is ongoing.