| 17.05,09. 08:41 AM |
Police car 'mows down' Carmela Pronesti in Sydney
May 17, 2009 12:01am
A YOUNG woman is fighting for her life in hospital after being struck down by a police car on Friday night, sparking a brawl between her friends and officers on the streets of Sydney.
Carmela Pronesti, 20, was celebrating at an 18th-birthday party at the Mykonos Restaurant in Parramatta when she was hit by the marked police car outside the venue.
Some witnesses claim the vehicle had its warning lights on but no siren.
Ms Pronesti's friend, James Pike told The Sunday Telegraph the police car seemed to appear out
"She walked out on to the road, we said 'stop', then the cop car came flying through and hit her," he said.
Friend Murray Reilly said Ms Pronesti's boyfriend and police at the scene became embroiled in an altercation.
"We just ran in to see if she was OK," he said.
"She was lying on the road; she wasn't moving."
More than 12 police cars arrived as plain-clothed officers and uniformed police were confronted by Ms Pronesti's friends.
A sergeant-ranked policeman, from Parramatta Local Area Command, was behind the wheel of the car and was allegedly responding to a report of a brawl in the area.
Witnesses said the car collided with the woman, who had just left the party with friends and was walking on the road.
She was taken to Westmead Hospital where she remains in intensive care in a serious but stable condition.
A critical incident investigation, led by police from Eastwood Area Command, is under way.
It will explore conflicting statements between friends of Ms Pronesti and the officer, who may have run a red light when he allegedly ran her down.
The sergeant will also be quizzed by members of the NSW Police Force Professional Standards Command, a Parramatta source told The Sunday Telegraph.
"He's certainly the subject of an investigation," the source said.
"He was responding to a brawl and he got into one."
The internal police investigation will also examine allegations of police brutality.
Another witness, John-Ross Campbell, claimed he was mistreated when he tried to break up the melee.
"The police stopped us, then they shoved me against the wall," he said. "We we're just, like, 'We want to know if she's all right.' We all just got roughed up. I was just helping my mate who was on the ground. I fell to my knees and I put my hands up to give in."