AUSTIN – A Central Texas police officer died early Sunday after she was struck by a patrol car driven by her partner while in a foot chase with a suspect.
Officer Amy Donovan died at Brackenridge Hospital (search) about 2 a.m. after the accident late Saturday night. She was the first female Austin Police Department (search) officer to die in the line of duty, officials said.
The 37-year-old officer was hit by her partner, Officer Adrian Valdovino, after he tried to cut a suspect off with the patrol car, said Police Chief Stan Knee.
Donovan and her partner were patrolling in East Austin when they saw an unidentified subject who Knee said was engaged in "suspicious activity," Knee told the Austin American-Statesman in Sunday's online edition. Donovan jumped from the patrol car to question the man and he fled on foot.
Valdovino placed the patrol car in reverse to try to stop the fleeing man and he struck Donovan, who was in the street, the police chief said.
Donovan, a wife and mother of four children, had left a previous career as an investment banker to become an officer, Knee said. She graduated in the top 10 percent of her cadet class.
"Amy took to heart the responsibility of being a commissioned police officer in this community," Knee told reporters. "Her actions tonight fall right in line with that observation."
Donovan and Valdovino had graduated from the police academy in June. The department has placed Valdovino on leave until the investigation is completed.
The suspect remains at large.
Placing cars in reverse to try to stop a suspect is a routine police practice, Knee said.
But he added that the department has started an investigation that will include a review of police policies, including the way officers handle foot pursuits.
The chief said Valdovino is "very emotional" and that he, paramedics and fire rescue workers administered first aid on the scene.
Donovan was the 19th Austin police officer killed on duty. She and Valdovino were in the same cadet class as Trina Andretti, who died in a car accident while leaving the academy in April.