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911 call by pregnant woman prompted response that resulted in police officer's crash

New details are being released about a crash between a Charleston police officer and an elderly woman.

At 10:07 a.m. on Wednesday, a pregnant woman frantically called 911 to report that she was assaulted by a man with a knife who had come into her apartment at Orchard Manor on the city's west side.

"I just got robbed!" the woman exclaimed when emergency dispatchers answered her call. "He came in my house with a knife," she can be heard telling the dispatcher. She later said through tears, "I'm pregnant!"

"The officers are coming and they're trying to get there to help you, OK?" the dispatcher said trying to calm her. "I'm crying!" she told the dispatcher.

"Very serious, very urgent. 'Police need to get over here. Someone's trying to get in,' so that necessitated a very quick response," explained Charleston Police Chief Brent Webster.

One of the responding officers did not make it to that call. He was on Bigley Avenue when he got word and rushed down West Washington Street before crashing into an elderly woman, said to be in her late 70's, who was pulling off on Maryland Avenue.

"Although it was a high priority call and he would have been justified to run code, he was not driving lights and siren and he was exceeding the speed limit," Webster explained.

Accident re-constructionists were back at the scene of the crash on Friday. Chief Webster said the police cruiser's "black box" that records data will play an important role in the continuing investigation.

"You can't help at a scene if you don't arrive safely," he said he tells his officers. "There's a reason that we have policies and procedures in place because when you are activated lights and siren, and you're allowed, it allows you to break state law. It allows you to get where you're going in more of a hurry. You still have to be safe and for the regard of others, you're not excused from that," Webster said.

It's been more than ten years since the city of Charleston paid $1.8 million to the widow of a woman killed after a Charleston police officer crashed into the couple's car on MacCorkle Avenue. Officer Brandon Tagayun's lights and siren also weren't activated while responding to a domestic dispute in Kanawha City.

Webster said their main concern right now is the recovery of the both the woman and the officer.

The officer, who has not been identified, has been advised by a doctor to rest and recover at home. He was initially taken to the hospital and later released.

Webster said the family of the woman hurt has asked for privacy and requested that an update on her condition not be made public. Webster had previously said she had "serious" injuries.


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