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June 26, 2013

BSO identifies deputy whose patrol car struck woman who just left hospital

A 46-year-old grandmother of seven, who grew up in Miami, was killed when a BSO deputy driving a patrol car crashed into her as she tried to cross a busy street.

Complaining about chest pains, Helen Bernadette Adams told a friend it felt like “someone stole her heart.”

The woman dropped Adams and her boyfriend off at Broward Health Imperial Point Hospital in Fort Lauderdale around 11 p.m. Tuesday.

She and her boyfriend John Adams walked out of Imperial Point shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday, and decided to walk east across Federal Highway to the nearby 7-Eleven for snacks.

As she tried to cross the busy thoroughfare, a Broward Sheriff’s Office squad car heading south crashed into her. She was pronounced dead at 3:30 a.m.

“Why did the deputy not see her,” said Adam’s sister Lisa Adams, who was devastated by the news. “You don’t hear that everyday that someone got hit by a cop.”

Police say the deputy, Cpl. Jeffrey Bates, was driving the patrol car that hit Adams.

“He was speeding,” John Adams told Miami Herald news partner CBS4. “I know he was.”

But Adams said he didn’t actually see the BSO patrol car strike Helen Adams, 46, because he was walking ahead of her.

BSO’s s traffic homicide unit is investigating to see whether speed, weather or other factors were involved, said BSO spokeswoman Dani Moschella.

The couple was crossing east on Federal Highway, an area without a crosswalk, she said.

Even though the accident happened in Fort Lauderdale, BSO is investigating because the crash involved a deputy, Moschella said.

“Deputies go to work every day to protect the public and make sure people are safe,” Moschella said. “So it’s very difficult for everyone when a deputy is involved in a crash.”

Bates, a road patrol officer for the Pompano Beach area, is an 11-year veteran on the force. He was not injured in the crash.

According to police, Bates had been in one previous accident that had no injuries and was deemed preventable.

Bates made headlines in 2007 when a suspect stabbed him in his right thigh with a steak knife after Bates pulled over to check out a suspicious situation.

John Adams, who also was not injured in the crash, told CBS4 he did what he could to help his longtime girlfriend.

“I ran back across and I tried to help her,” he told the television station through tears. “I was trying to help her, give her CPR. I hoped she’d be alright.”

Lisa Adams said her sister grew up in Miami and was a mother of five and a grandmother of seven. Her sister had been living with family and friends in recent years and at one point worked as a babysitter. She had been suffering from a heart condition in recent years, her sister said.

“We were very close,” said Lisa Adams, who said the two spoke three days ago. “I can’t believe my sister is dead. I just can’t even put my head around it.”

Miami Herald news partner CBS4 contributed to this report.

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