Death of gunshot victim run over by Springfield cruiser ruled an accident

Eric Cole died of blunt-force trauma to torso, autopsy says.

The man who was shot by an unknown assailant and then run over by a responding officer died from blunt-force trauma to the torso and the incident was ruled an accident, according to the final autopsy report by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Eric Eugene Cole, 42, of Springfield, died June 14 after the incident on Sunday night on South Center Boulevard.

Cole’s cause of death was blunt-force trauma to the torso and the manner of his death was an accident, the report stated.

Officers were dispatched around 11:22 p.m. on June 13 to the 1400 block of South Center Boulevard on a report of someone shot. Officer Amanda Rosales was the first officer to respond to the scene and was “involved in an accident” with Cole, according to police.

Cole was flown to Miami Valley Hospital, where he died from his injuries the following day.

The autopsy findings show the Cole had blunt-force trauma to his torso, including abrasions on his shoulders, back and left lower chest; lacerations to his left shoulder and back; and fracture of his sternum and multiple ribs.

He also had blunt-force trauma of his extremities, including bruises on his right arm, abrasions on his arms, left knee and legs, and a gunshot in his left arm.

Investigators with the Springfield Police Division, who is investigating the shooting incident, is currently reviewing the coroner’s findings in Cole’s case.

“SPD investigators are reviewing the coroner’s report as part of its internal probe of the accident and its criminal investigation of the shooting,” Springfield city officials said in a statement.

“The investigation of the vehicle-pedestrian accident is being conducted by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. SPD is cooperating fully with these agencies as they conduct their investigations,” the statement said.

Cole’s funeral services were held on June 23 at Restored Life Ministries, and his burial is at Ferncliff Cemetery.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office was appointed as a special prosecutor for the case of Cole’s death.

The Clark County Prosecutor’s Office requested that Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office be appointed as a Special Prosecutor in the matter of the death of Cole “to ensure that there was no appearance of a Conflict of Interest in this case,” a press release from the prosecutor’s office stated.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is conducting the investigation into the accident involving Rosales and the Springfield Police Division is investigating the shooting. Both investigations are still ongoing.

According to the OSHP crash report, “(the police cruiser) was driving south on South Center Boulevard in emergency response. (The police cruiser) struck a pedestrian (Cole) laying in the roadway.”

The crash report states that Rosales was in emergency response with her overhead lights activated, and was distracted by something outside of the vehicle.

Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf previously said Rosales did not see Cole on the street because she was reportedly looking at houses for addresses and the officer stopped immediately and began to render aid after the incident.

“This was an accident,” Graf said at a press conference held in June. “That doesn’t mean it’s OK. This was not an intentional act by the officer. I am sure of that.”

Rosales, who has been with the department for over a year, is on administrative leave and an internal investigation is ongoing, which is standard procedure, Graf said.

Cole’s family demanded answers from the police department and raised many concerns at the June press conference.

His cousin, Donita Cosey, said previously that she is in disbelief and asked how the officer did not see her cousin on the road.

A woman who identified herself as Cole’s 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.

In the video, you see the police cruiser, driven by Rosales, making its way to the scene of the incident. As the cruiser pulls onto South Center Boulevard, you can see Cole lying on the left side of the road in a white shirt, with blood on it, and blue shorts. The cruiser then strikes Cole and stops, the video shows.

A second video shows a separate cruiser following behind Rosales. As the two pull up to the scene, Cole is shown lying on the left side in the road as the cruiser strikes him. Rosales then gets out of her cruiser and runs to aid Cole, as do other officers.

Cole’s death has also been the subject of community demonstrations, with attendees demanding justice and accountability for Cole. More than 100 people gathered at the end of June in downtown Springfield, saying they want the officer involved in the incident to be held accountable and called for more transparency surrounding the case.