Boy Dies After Being Struck By Police Car

Officers Say 10-Year-Old Was Riding Bicycle

Dallas police said an officer struck and killed a 10-year-old boy on a bicycle Friday night.

Officers said a police cruiser crashed into Cole Berardi, 10, of Dallas, in the 2600 block of South Belt Line Road at about 7:40 p.m.

Police said the boy was trying to cross the road, and Senior Cpl. Michael Vaughn didn't see him. Police said Cole was riding on the shoulder of the road and attempted to cross the four-lane road as Vaughn was rounding a short curve in the road.

Vaughn was not using his lights or siren, said Lt. Vernon Hale, a Dallas police spokesman.

"It was just a dark road, not well lit," Hale said. "This sounds like a combination of factors" that caused the accident.

Cole's family and friends placed memorials at the spot where he was struck.

"We've lost a son and a grandson and a brother and a nephew," his aunt Eva Havens said. "So many people have lost a friend."

"It doesn't seem like it's real," she said. "It doesn't seem like it can be real, because it doesn't seem like the world should still be able to exist without him in it."

Cole's family said the boy died doing what he loved most.

"He loved to be on his bike, loved it so much," Havens said. "That's part of what makes this so horrible."

The officer was responding to a disturbance call at the time of the collision, police said.

Hale said another patrol car was following behind the one that struck the boy. The officers attempted to revive the boy but were unsuccessful. He described the officers as "distraught."

Cole was taken to Baylor University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

The case is under investigation.

Havens said the family was waiting to see what the investigation finds.

"We understand that it was (his) time to go, and we know that wherever he is, he's safe and he's happy," she said.

Vaughn, who has been with the Dallas Police Department since October 2003, has been placed on standard paid administrative leave.

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