Authorities: 66-year-old runner hit by police car dies

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The tragic accident happened just before 7 a.m. Tuesday after DeKalb County police officers were dispatched to a tree down in the area.

Police Chief James Conroy said MacGowan responded to the call and was traveling northbound on Chamblee Tucker Road when a vehicle made a left turn in front of him, causing the officer to make an "invasive maneuver" to avoid hitting the vehicle. That's when, according to Chief Conroy, MacGowan’s patrol car went up over the curb, struck Pickney and then crashed into a house. 

Investigators told FOX 5 Pickney was jogging when she was struck in the crosswalk at the intersection with Brown Road. She was critically injured and taken to a local hospital, where she later died, according to police.

Family members described Pickney as an avid runner, who recently placed first in her division in the Peachtree Road Race on July 4. 

Officer MacGowan, 31, has worked for the DeKalb County Police Department for four years. 

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Police said one woman was inside the home during the time of the crash, but she wasn't injured. The house suffered minor damage. 


Investigators are now piecing together exactly what happened and said they'll turn to the cruiser's dash cam video to hopefully get more information. 

Police also said the female driver who the officer avoided hitting remained at the scene following the wreck. 

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Wednesday night Pickney's cousin Hal Whiteman, talked about the devastating loss.  "She had done everything right in her life, she was a caring person, a giving person," said Whiteman.

Whiteman is also an attorney.  He told Fox 5 once the police investigation is complete, he and the family will take a look at what changes could be made to help prevent something like this from happening again.  He says he's not sure if that would mean adding a stop light or speed limits, but says it definitely needs to be addressed.

Whiteman says he's also going to see if the officer was following proper procedures.  "We're going to see what legal remedies will be available to make sure this doesn't happen again. It would be a great testament to Janet if we could do something to make it safer," said Whiteman.