Officer who fell from I-83 has surgery, still in critical condition

The Baltimore police officer who fell off an elevated section of the Jones Falls Expressway in an accident Tuesday remained hospitalized in critical condition after undergoing two surgeries, one to repair a fractured leg and pelvis.

Officer Teresa Rigby also underwent facial reconstruction surgery at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, according to a Police Department spokesman. The 27-year-old who patrolled North Baltimore was in intensive care late Wednesday afternoon and her condition had stabilized.

"She has an incredibly long road ahead of her," said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, who added that doctors had put a rod in her leg. "It's very unclear how long she'll be in the hospital."

Meanwhile, a team of city police accident investigators continued to examine evidence and question drivers involved in Tuesday morning's crash in the northbound lanes of Interstate 83, near the Pepsi plant south of Cold Spring Lane.

Police said Rigby was standing near a disabled vehicle waiting for it to be towed when a Saab crashed into the back of her cruiser. The police car surged forward and struck Rigby, sending her over a retaining wall and plummeting 30 feet to a parking lot below.

Investigators had initially been unsure if Rigby had jumped to avoid being hit or had been hit by the car. Guglielmi said at a news conference Wednesday that she had been hit.

Police officials refused to release the names of the others involved in accident, citing the continuing investigation and review by the Baltimore state's attorney's office. Others injured in the accident were the drivers of the tow truck, the Saab and the disabled vehicle.

Cindy Rivers, a spokeswoman for Shock Trauma, said the driver of the Saab was released from the hospital Tuesday afternoon. Conditions of the other victims could not be learned. The truck driver was from Berman's Towing, but company officials did not return calls seeking comment.

Guglielmi said that alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the crash, but he could not say whether the driver of the Saab was distracted, possibly by the flashing emergency lights atop Rigby's cruiser.

"It's been documented that when there is an accident on the road, people get attracted by the flashing lights," Guglielmi said "When they do that, they sometimes steer into that scene, and that is how tragedies happen."

Few details could be learned about Rigby. She has been on the force about 31/2 years, most recently at the Northern District. Police officials declined to make her department biography or photo available, saying her family had requested those details remain private.

Police officers who worked with Rigby did not return calls, and a police spokesman directed a reporter to the department's Facebook page, which contains comments from well-wishers, some of whom identified themselves as relatives.

Samone Bass, who said she is a cousin and uses a Facebook name with the words "KGA," police lingo for dispatcher, wrote that Rigby "is a wonderful woman. As her cousin I want to thank EVERYONE for all their prayers, thoughts and support on behalf of our entire family. Get better soon ReeseCup."

Rigby lives in Baltimore County, just over the city line near Northwest Baltimore's Seton Business Park. A small sign on the door of her modest, two-story home reads, "Firefighters, Save Our Pets!"

The officer's next-door neighbor, Keisha Henry, called Rigby a pleasant neighbor and said she was often outside walking her two dogs.

"She is a really, really nice person," Henry said. "She always had a smile on her face."

Henry said that Rigby mostly kept to herself and that she had not been living in the house long. Henry said she was shocked about the accident and is "praying for her and her family."

Another neighbor, Willie Fulton, shared her concern and said, "She's a good neighbor. … I hope she makes out all right."

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