Police issue statement on New Year's Eve pedestrian accident

Jonathan Riley
Police officers respond to the scene of a pedestrian accident on New Year's Eve that involved a Pittsburg Police Department vehicle.

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Four days after a New Year’s Eve accident involving a police car that hit a pedestrian, the Pittsburg Police Department issued a press release Monday acknowledging the incident.

Shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 31, a PPD patrol car heading south on Walnut Street struck 23-year old Marco Edrey Dias, also known as Edrey Havens, as it approached the intersection with West Kansas Street, according to the PPD release. The driver of the police car was Officer Nicholas Cook, 24, according to an accompanying crash report from the Kansas Highway Patrol.

“The officer immediately called in the accident and began to render aid to Mr. Dias, and additional first responder units from the Pittsburg Police Department, as well as from the Pittsburg Fire Department and Crawford County EMS, were dispatched to the scene,” according to the release, which also noted that the KHP is now investigating the incident.

“Mr. Dias was transported by ambulance to Ascension Via Christi Hospital for treatment,” the release said. “Mr. Dias’ condition is unknown at this time.”

Dias’s stepfather Samual Havens said this week that although he suffered some injuries in the accident, Edrey is now recovering. Havens has concerns, however, about how police handled the incident. He says he did not hear about what happened until close to an hour later, when Edrey’s friend Braxton Junk came to his house and told him about it.

“I think every parent, I don’t care who you are, if you’re a parent you want to know — good or bad — what’s going on,” Havens said. “You don’t like to be left in a guessing game.”

Edrey was in Ascension Via Christi’s intensive care unit overnight before being released Friday with bruised ribs, a fractured nose and three teeth knocked out, according to Havens. He also had to get several stitches to treat additional facial injuries.

“I don’t know exactly how long it takes to mobilize EMS, you know, I’m not going to say they were doing their job wrong or anything like that,” Havens said, adding that he understands that Edrey being hit by the police car was an accident, but he feels the Pittsburg PD could have handled the situation differently.

“The Pittsburg Police Department has still yet to contact us about anything,” Havens said in an interview Monday — after the department had already issued its news release on the accident. “We had a state trooper come by and take statements from my son Edrey last night, about 5 o’clock maybe.”

Asked Monday about the EMS response time to the New Year’s Eve incident or the lack of communication between the police department and Edrey’s family, Pittsburg Deputy Police Chief Ben Henderson said he had no further comment beyond what was included in the press release.

“This matter is being investigated by the Kansas State Highway Patrol, so any questions or concerns regarding the investigation need to be directed to them,” he said.

In a video posted to Facebook of the aftermath of the accident, another of Edrey’s friends tells a different side of the story from that presented in the Pittburg PD’s press release.

“So these cops just hit my friend Edrey,” Matt Tallie says in the video. “It’s been probably 15 minutes since they hit my friend Edrey and he is on the ground right now and there’s no ambulance, just more and more cops showing up.”