MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A French tourist remained in critical condition Sunday, a day after she was badly hurt, and her sister was killed, when a police vehicle ran them over as they sunbathed on a beach.
Sandrine Tunc, 26, was being treated at Jackson Memorial Hospital, spokeswoman Conchita Ruiz-Topinka said. The Miami Beach police department and mayor have set up a Monday blood drive to help her, said police spokesman Bobby Hernandez.
Tunc and her sister, Stephanie, 27, were struck by the sport utility vehicle as they lay on a crowded beach Saturday, authorities said. Officer George Varon apparently didn't see the two as he searched for robbery suspects who had been reported nearby.
Varon, a seven-year veteran, was placed on administrative leave while the accident was under investigation. He wasn't using a siren and witnesses said the women didn't see his vehicle coming.
City officials have said speed did not appear to be a factor in the death.
Police said the vacationing sisters lived in Britain, but did not say where in Britain or where they were from in France. Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer was expected to meet their family members when they arrived at Miami International Airport later Sunday, said Nannette Rodriguez, a city spokeswoman.
"We're trying to make the stay for the family that's coming in as comfortable as possible," Rodriguez said. "This has just been a horrible accident."
Few sunbathers were on the beach Sunday afternoon under overcast skies. Nothing remained at the accident scene except tire tracks.
Anthony Holdgate of Essex, England, was lying on the sand Sunday near where the sisters were struck. The vacationer said people were now driving more cautiously along the beach.
"They're looking twice now at least," Holdgate said.
Another European sunbather was killed in a similar accident in 1993. Christa Emilie, 67, of Berlin, was struck by a police car on New Smyrna Beach.