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By Kim Bell
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

OVERLAND, Mo. - The police chief of Overland was patrolling an elementary school at afternoon dismissal Tuesday to see for himself the traffic congestion that has irked parents trying to pick up kids and school administrators trying to direct cars.
As Police Chief James Herron patrolled a particularly busy stretch in front of Iveland Elementary, his unmarked patrol car came into contact with a third-grade boy. The boy, 9, was knocked to the ground, suffering scrapes and bruises. He was rushed to a hospital for X-rays but suffered no broken bones.
The accident happened about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday near the intersection of Eastbrook Drive and Bryant Avenue. It's unclear if the police car was moving when the boy ran into it. The chief had just left a stop sign.
"Witnesses are telling us (the boy) came out from some parked cars and ran into the side of the police car," said Capt. Mike Laws of the Overland police. "One witness said the chief was stopped. Another said he was moving slowly."
The boy, 9, was not identified. He is a third-grader from Iveland in the Ritenour School District.
Laws said the boy ran around a car that was partially parked in the crosswalk and collided with the chief's car. He was running to his mom's car, which was parked nearby. The mother apparently saw her son struck.
"Ironically enough, this is exactly why the chief has been going by the schools, looking to see what kind of congestion is actually there," Laws said.
Doug Bray, communications specialist for Ritenour schools, said district officials are unclear how it happened.
"He either ran into a car or was struck by a car," Bray said. "He hit the side of the car. We haven't seen the police report. We can't confirm the car was moving or just sitting there."
The school is at 1836 Dyer Avenue in Overland. Because school was letting out at the time, "it was a high-congestion area," Bray said.
Herron has been police chief of Overland for about a decade. Laws said the police department is taking extra steps on this investigation because it involves the chief. For example, Herron was given a sobriety test -- and passed with no problem -- even though such tests aren't required in accidents involving non-life threatening injuries.
"We're spending more time to make sure it's thorough," Laws said. "It's a scary thing. I'm sure the young man is upset and sore."
The boy was treated at a hospital and back home within about 90 minutes, Bray said. The boy was not in school today, Bray said.
School teachers and administrators who help direct traffic after school did not see what happened, and the district has no cameras outside that would have taped the accident, Bray said.
Bray said it was typical for a police officer to be at the school during morning arrival and afternoon dismissal as added safety for the students.

Wire Service
 
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