PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A 24-year-old man is in critical condition at Rhode Island Hospital following an officer-involved crash in Providence on Sunday, according to Police Commander Thomas Verdi.
Verdi says the Providence Police Accident Reconstruction Unit and Office of Professional Responsibility are both investigating the crash, which took place around 6 p.m. on Elmwood Ave.
A police cruiser and the moped were seen up on the sidewalk at the intersection with Bissell Street, and a stop sign was also knocked over.
Cell phone video viewed by 12 News shows a police vehicle driving behind the moped, both of which take a right turn. Squealing tires and a large crash are heard, though the moment of impact is just out of frame. The camera pans back and the driver of the moped is seen being thrown from the moped to the ground.
Asked if the officer driving the cruiser definitively struck the moped, Police Chief Hugh Clements says officers are viewing multiple angles of video in order to reconstruct the accident and determine what happened.
The police cruiser’s brush guard appeared bent out of shape as it was towed away.
Clements said police received multiple 911 calls reporting 200 to 300 off-road vehicles driving around parts of the city, which is what patrol officers were monitoring when the crash happened.
The officer involved has minor injuries, Clements said.
Mayor Jorge Elorza was also on the scene Sunday evening.
“We’re trying to get the video evidence of it, see what kind of video we have on it, just recreate the scene and see exactly what happened,” Elorza told 12 News.
On Monday, 12 News asked Elorza about these groups of ATV and moped riders. He says he views them as a public safety concern, particularly as they get bigger,
“That’s when you see them even more emboldened and that’s when you see them take on even riskier and riskier activities for themselves, and for anyone else who happens to be out on the road,” Elorza said. “So, absolutely it is a major, major public safety challenge and it’s one that we’re going to continue to address with all of the tools that we have”
On Sunday night, Elorza’s office later sent a statement from the mayor promising a full investigation.
“We had a terrible incident in our city tonight that left a young man severely injured— we hope he will make a full recovery,” Elorza said. “Our police are actively reviewing all video evidence, talking to witnesses, and recreating the scene. We will be doing a full investigation and will continue to communicate as the investigation unfolds.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.