CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A local family is questioning the circumstances surrounding an 80-year-old man’s death. Investigators say a Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer struck Arnulfo Salazar in Steele Creek May 31 after Salazar walked in front of a police cruiser.
"We're not blaming anyone," his daughter Jimena Salazar said. "I want to know what happened."
Officials say the area where Salazar was hit on South Tryon Street and Moss Road was not a marked crossing zone.
Jimena Salazar is devastated by the loss of her father, an avid walker.
"It's been tough because it's unexpected," Salazar said. "My dad was in great shape because he walked all of his life."
Police said Salazar ran from the center median across the street and into the path of an on-duty patrol car driven by Officer Jeffrey Page. He was not within a marked crosswalk or wearing reflective clothing. Witnesses said it was raining at the time.
"It was six o’clock - plain daylight,” Salazar said. “Why would he be wearing reflective gear before that time?"
Investigators said Page stopped immediately and began rendering aid until paramedics arrived.
Salazar said she hopes more details are released soon about the moments before the accident.
"[Doctors] They said multiple fractures to the hip, femur fracture, skull fracture, both lungs collapsed, ruptured bladder, broken ribs," she said. “We're not blaming anyone. I want to know what happened. I don't see my dad just crossing the street without looking."
Salazar died surrounded by his family at the hospital later that night, after he heard the words, "I love you, dad."
"He just had a big tear drop, and he drew his last breath. So, I know he heard us. I know he did," Salazar said.
Detectives with CMPD are still investigating the case but say Page is on administrative leave. Police say speeding was not a factor.
Channel 9 has requested the crash report associated with the case.
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