ST. LOUIS (KMOV/CNN) - Police say a 12-year-old girl ran into the street and was hit by a St. Louis County Police squad car during a chase with a suspicious person.
A 25-year-old male officer with the St. Louis County Police saw a suspicious person and vehicle at a gas station Monday evening. He pursued the vehicle in a marked squad car, but police say he did not activate his lights and sirens.
During the chase, 12-year-old Akeelah Jackson ran into the street. Before the officer could stop the car, which was traveling 29 miles per hour over the posted speed limit, the girl was hit.
“The car hit her, and she flew in the air and came back down,” a witness said.
Police say after hitting the 12-year-old, the officer stopped and reported the incident.
Akeelah was taken to the hospital, where she was initially listed in critical condition. She underwent surgery and is currently recovering.
Sgt. Ben Granda says the squad car’s on-board technology shows the chase lasted for 32 seconds over a quarter of a mile. The unit was not equipped with a dash camera.
"Many people understand a police officer has a reasonable time and distance to try to catch up to a vehicle that they are going to try to conduct a traffic stop of,” Granda said.
Accident reconstruction is handling the ongoing investigation.
Police say the officer who hit Akeelah is cooperating. He has four years of law enforcement experience.