Family of man shot, then hit by responding Springfield police cruiser, demands answers

The family of a man who was shot in an apparent dispute, and then hit by a responding police cruiser in Springfield, demanded answers from the police department during a press conference Wednesday.

Eric Cole, 42, of Springfield, died at Miami Valley Hospital on Monday after the shooting and being hit by the cruiser late Sunday.

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The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is working to determine the cause and manner of his death.

Regina Wilson, Cole’s mother, said her son was a loving dad and beautiful person. He was the father to three children.

His cousin, Donita Cosey, said Cole cared for all his family.

“He loved every single one of his family members; good or bad, right or wrong,” she said. “...He was just that kind of person. He never wanted you to feel like he did not love you.”

Regina Wilson, the mother of Eric Cole, asks questions during a press conference by the City of Springfield. Eric Cole, was shot Sunday night and run over by a Springfield police officer responding to the scene. BILL LACKEY / STAFF
Caption
Regina Wilson, the mother of Eric Cole, asks questions during a press conference by the City of Springfield. Eric Cole, was shot Sunday night and run over by a Springfield police officer responding to the scene. BILL LACKEY / STAFF

His family and friends raised multiple concerns about his death and the police response.

Cosey said that the family’s frustration stems from the feeling that the police are not being fully transparent and that the family was not told sooner that Cole was struck by a police vehicle.

She said that the family was only notified later that it was a police vehicle that hit Eric.

Wilson said she didn’t know her son had had been hit by a police cruiser until a doctor at Miami Valley Hospital told her. A police officer at the scene just said he was shot in the arm, she said.

“We had to call them Monday to come to my mother’s house to talk to the police,” Wilson said. “They should’ve been there Sunday night.”

Cosey said she is in disbelief and asked how the officer did not see her cousin on the road.

“I understand their grief,” said Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf. “They want answers. I want to get them those answers. But there is a process and it is going to take some time.”

A woman who identified herself as his sister said at the press conference she could see Cole lying in the street on cruiser camera footage and didn’t understand how the officer couldn’t.

Graf called the incident an accident and said he was sure that it was not an intentional act by Officer Amanda Rosales.

She was reportedly looking at houses for addresses when she hit Cole and immediately stopped to help him.

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The family also asked why a toxicology report was ordered for Cole but not for Rosales.

Graf said the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is the department that ran Cole’s toxicology report and that he did not request one. It is not standard for an officer to take a breathalyzer test after an accident unless there are signs of impairment. A department captain determined Rosales did not show signs of impairment, Graf said.

Cole’s family also had concerns about how long Rosales was on the scene and if she was allowed to work the case.

“If we make mistakes we will be accountable,” Graf said. If I make mistakes I will be accountable.”

Wilson said she wants Rosales to be held responsible for Cole’s death.

“I feel like she should be held accountable like they would hold me accountable,” she said. “...I have to pay and we have to pay to put my son away from something that she’s done.”

Rosales has been with the department for more than a year. She was working the midnight shift Sunday, which typically comes in around 10 and 11 p.m., Graf said.

She has been placed an administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

Springfield police are investigating the shooting and has also started an internal investigation. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is investigating the pedestrian strike.

Springfield NAACP President Denise Williams assured Cole’s family the organization will make sure there is transparency as the incident is investigated.

“This is why Springfield has an NAACP,” Williams said. “We will get all the answers. Our arms spread wide.”