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6 Dead, Police Officer Injured in Car Crash in Upper Arlington
UPPER ARLINGTON (Ken Hines) -- Investigators have determined that a police officer entered an intersection under a green light immediately before striking a family car, killing all six people inside the vehicle.
Dashcam video from Upper Arlington officer Shawn Paynter's cruiser shows that the family's vehicle was hit after it came to a stop in the intersection of Fishinger Road and Riverside Dr. after running a red light early Friday morning.
"[Investigators] found the officer entered the intersection just as the light changed from green to Amber. The victims' car entered the intersection on red," Perry Twp. Police Chief Robert Oppenheimer said. "For whatever reason, we don't know, they stopped right in the middle of the intersection and the cruiser T-boned The Toyota."
Paynter was responding to a report of a robbery at a Henderson Road McDonald's when the crash occurred, according to investigators, who say the cruiser's lights and sirens were active at the time of the accident.
"I don't think the officer even had the opportunity to react," Oppenheimer said "[It] happened that fast."
The six family members killed were Iraqi refugees who moved to Columbus in 2009. Oppenheimer identified them to the Associated Press as Eid Badi Shahad, 39; Entisar W. Hameed, 31; Shuaa Badi, 16; Amna Badi, 14; Ekbal Badi, 12; and Lina Badi, 2.
The family members were returning home from a celebration in honor of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha when they died.
The deceased family members leave behind five sons -- all under 18 -- who were staying with their grandmother when the crash occurred.
Paynter was treated for head injuries at Riverside Methodist Hospital following the crash. He was released Friday evening.
Upper Arlington police will conduct an investigation to determine if Paynter -- a five year veteran of the department -- was following proper procedure when the crash occurred.
Paynter is expected to take injury leave before returning to active duty, according to a colleague.
"Our biggest focus is that Officer Paynter has the support that he needs, and feels comfortable coming back both physically and emotionally, and psychologically," Upper Arlington Officer Heather Galli said.