Crash victim dies after being run over by Merced police patrol car rushing to his aid

The police officer has been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated.
MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- G Street, one of the main thoroughfares in the city of Merced, has now seen two pedestrian deaths that involve a police officer about one week apart from each other.

"These things affect the community, the agency, the individual, an innocent family," says Merced Police Chief Tom Cavallero. "It's just heartbreaking."

Just after 5 am on Saturday on G Street near 18th Street, a man was hit by the driver of a 2005 Infinity sedan.

A Merced Police officer rushing to respond hit the victim again with his patrol car.

That officer has now been identified as David Flores, who has been patrolling the streets for just one year.

"The first thing he (Flores) said to me was that he got into this business to save lives," Cavallero said.

Last Thursday, just a couple blocks down G near 15th Street, grandmother Josefa Blandon was hit and killed by an on-duty Merced officer.

RELATED: Woman hit and killed by Merced police officer, authorities say

Now, Chief Cavallero says they are gathering information and waiting for the investigation to come to a conclusion.

The chief says they are analyzing the incidents for future improvements within the department.

"These issues seem simple on the front end, but I think it's incumbent upon us to sort of do an analysis and see how we can make the entire system safer," Cavallero said.

The chief says traffic fatalities have gone up in the last few years. He hopes pedestrians and drivers can be more alert.

"We want Merced to be a safe place to be able to take a walk, to be able to ride a bicycle and to certainly operate a motor vehicle," Cavallero said. "I don't think we can talk about it too much, to be honest."

Neighbors say that's not enough.

John Mariano says he heard the accident on Saturday morning. He says he believes G Street is unsafe and wants the city to do more.

We spoke to the mayor of Merced and he said city leaders are looking to upgrade street lights to enhance visibility and safety.

Now, the officers involved in both incidents are on paid administrative leave as both the CHP and Merced police conduct their investigations.
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