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Woman in Charleston police collision dies; officer’s name released

The woman involved in a collision with a Charleston police cruiser last week has died, city officials said Monday.

Police Chief Brent Webster said Monday that he had received a call from the state Medical Examiner’s Office Monday morning, alerting him to the woman’s death.

Also Monday, Webster released the name of the patrol officer involved. Stephen Doss, a two-year member of the Charleston Police Department, was placed on paid administrative leave Friday. Doctors initially had suggested that he be given time off to rest and recover from his own injuries.

Charleston police were dispatched to a domestic call at Orchard Manor at 10:10 a.m. Wednesday. A woman had called about a burglary involving a knife.

Doss, who was on Bigley Avenue when the call came in, collided with a woman driving in the 400 block of Washington Street West. No one else was in either vehicle.

Webster has said preliminary information suggests the officer’s emergency lights and sirens were not on and that he was traveling above the speed limit, and that he believes the officer was traveling in the left lane of the two-lane, one-way road. The collision occurred near the intersection of Washington Street West and Maryland Avenue.

Webster has said neither person appeared to be injured at first, but their conditions worsened throughout the day. The woman, believed to be in her late 70s, was being treated at a local hospital Thursday. Doss was released from the hospital Wednesday.

Webster would not release the woman’s name Monday.

“The family, from the beginning, has really stressed how important their privacy is at this time,” he said.

He said the prosecutor’s office had already requested to review the accident report and associated reports when they are complete. Webster estimated that the accident report should be complete in seven to 10 days.

Kanawha Prosecutor Chuck Miller said it’s too soon to speculate if criminal charges might be filed.

This is the second time in 12 years that a woman has died after a collision with a Charleston police officer not using his emergency lights or siren and speeding while responding to a call. A similar incident, in 2005, resulted in the death of a motorist on MacCorkle Avenue.

Webster said numerous measures were taken to prevent similar incidents, but he wasn’t prepared to go into details Monday.

“I think it’s probably important to save that for another day,” he said.

Mayor Danny Jones referred questions to the police chief.

Other officers responded to the call at Orchard Manor.

In that incident, a pregnant woman reported that an acquaintance, known to her only as “Mob,” forced his way into her apartment, according to Lt. Steve Cooper, the Charleston Police Department’s chief of detectives.

The man was holding a knife and assaulted her, leaving bruises on her arms, Cooper has said. He fled in a black sedan.

In the 2005 incident, a Charleston police officer was speeding along MacCorkle Avenue in Kanawha City without using his lights or siren when he struck another vehicle, killing the driver. Brandon Tagayun was responding as back-up to a domestic dispute call at the Kanawha Mall. Patsy Sizemore, 69, of Charlton Heights, died in the collision.

Tagayun resigned from the department in April 2006.

In March 2007, he pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors — speeding and failure to use his cruiser’s emergency lights. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped a negligent-homicide charge against the officer. He received one year probation and was fined $100 for each charge. He was later hired by the St. Albans Police Department.

In July 2006, the city of Charleston settled, for $1.8 million, a civil lawsuit filed by Sizemore’s husband, Gary, who survived the crash.

Reach Erin Beck at, 304-348-5163, or follow @erinbeckwv on Twitter.

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