Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayor: We'll Review All Vehicles on the Beach; the Investigation Comes after a Police Officer Accidentally Ran over a Sunbather

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mayor: We'll Review All Vehicles on the Beach; the Investigation Comes after a Police Officer Accidentally Ran over a Sunbather

Article excerpt

Byline: DREW DIXON

JACKSONVILLE BEACH - Mayor Fland Sharp is calling for a detailed review of all public service vehicles that travel on the beach after an officer in a police sport utility vehicle ran over and critically injured a 41-year-old woman who had been lying on the sand.

Sharp said Monday that, after Friday's accident, he expects policy changes on which city vehicles are driven on the beach and why.

"That's absolutely going to happen," Sharp said. "Once we get all the reports done, the city manager [George Forbes] is going to do that and they'll bring it back to us. ... I expect some modifications to driving on the beach. But you can't take all the vehicles off the beach."

Anne Marie Giffin, 41, of Jacksonville, had critical injuries, including a head wound and broken bones, in her chest and pelvis after she was run over by the police Chevrolet Trailblazer. She was sunbathing by herself when the accident happened about 3:15 p.m. near the 14th Avenue South public beach access.

Giffin, an accomplished pianist, was taken to Shands Jacksonville hospital, and she was in critical condition in the intensive care unit Friday. Her condition was upgraded to good as of Monday, a Shands official said.

Giffin has performed on several occasions as a soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and in various music festivals and concerts.

Jacksonville Police Officer Lewis Keller did not see Giffin before driving the vehicle over her during a U-turn, police said. Keller, 45, has been with the department for one year.

Sharp said he's surprised someone hasn't been hit by a city vehicle before since there is so much activity on the beach.

"The police aren't the only ones to drive on the beach; one vehicle's just as good as another if you get run over," said Sharp, adding public works, trash collection, lifeguards, police and other agencies have vehicles that travel the beach. …

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