Wednesday, September 06, 2000

Visitations today for 2 families

Policeman was dragged, youth shot

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Families of the Cincinnati police officer and the boy who was driving the car that killed him last week will grieve publicly today at separate viewings for the dead officer and the youth.

        Visitations take place this afternoon and evening for both Cincinnati Police Officer Kevin Crayon and Courtney Mathis, the 12-year-old boy who was behind the wheel of the car that dragged the officer down Colerain Avenue to his death.

        Just before he fell from the car to the pavement, the officer drew his service weapon and shot Courtney in the chest. The wound proved fatal four hours later.

        Another witness to the early Friday morning incident has told friends that seeing the officer dragged was like being in a scary movie.

        Rosalind Heard of Westwood had just pulled into the drive-through lane at the Taco Bell when she heard what sounded like screeching tires. Seconds later, she heard a “pow.”

  News of Officer Kevin Crayon's death has been posted on several Internet sites. Here are some Web addresses to find information about him and other officers who have been hurt and killed across the country:
  • Cincinnati Police Division:
  • National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund:
  • Concerns of Police Survivors:

How it happened
        She looked out onto Colerain Avenue and saw “a body hanging off that car.”

        “The guy was dragging at the back of the car,” she said. “It looked like he was trying to hold on. It looked like he was holding on with both arms.”

        In an instant, the body came loose from the car and was lying in the middle of the street, she said. When she approached, she could see the person had suffered massive head injuries and appeared to be dead. Another bystander told her the man was a police officer and “that he was gone.”

        Autopsies on both bodies were complete Tuesday, but their preliminary results were not released. A spokesman for Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Carl Parrott Jr. said routine toxicology and other tests were not yet finished.

        Questions remained Tuesday about who knew the boy often drove his relatives' car, why he didn't stop when Officer Crayon repeatedly ordered him to and why the officer put his hands into the vehicle.

        Police released no new information about their investigation. Representatives of the boy's family said it was too soon to discuss their private investigator's findings.

        Courtney's family has said nothing publicly about their loss. Jeff Witt, an attorney working for them, said they are holding up as well as can be expected.

        “I mean, my God, it's terrible,” he said. “It doesn't get any worse than this.”

        He said it was too soon to discuss the investigation being conducted for the family by his office and a private investigator.

        “We just want to wait until all the evidence is gathered,” Mr. Witt said. “Right now, for both families, it's been just terrible.”

        City Council canceled its Thursday meeting. Flowers continued to pile up at the foot of the bronze officer at the police memorial on Ezzard Charles Drive. Donations to the officer's funds at Provident and Fifth Third banks continued to grow.

        Officers' wives who sold blue ribbons at Monday's Reds game took in almost $6,000 in donations. The money will go toward the college funds of Officer Crayon's three teen-agers.

        Officer Crayon became the 103rd police officer to die in the line of duty in the United States this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page,

       Reporter William A. Weathers contributed to this story.

In the Line of Duty: A special section on Officer Crayon

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