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Cop Linked to Accident Kills Self

October 18, 1997

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A policeman committed suicide as officers arrived to question him in the hit-and-run of a mother and her 10-month-old girl, thrown from a stroller that latched on to the vehicle’s bumper.

A Ford Bronco seen leaving the scene Thursday was tracked down to officer Bryce Wicks, 54, an 28-year veteran, said Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks.

Wicks shot himself in the head Friday before detectives could talk to him at his Acton home, Parks said.

The 10-month-old girl and her mother, 23-year-old Juanita Mercado, remained hospitalized Friday night. The girl was awaiting plastic surgery for second- and third-degree friction burns. The mother was suffering from a broken leg and collarbone.

As the Bronco hit them, the stroller latched on to the bumper, said Los Angeles police Officer Juan Velasco.

``He just hit the gas pedal and took off ... dragging the stroller up underneath his car, sparks were flying everywhere,″ said witness Sam Davis.

``The baby’s not making any sound. When he got to the corner, turned right, that’s what exited the baby from the stroller,″ Davis said. ``It came out just like someone threw a beer can out the window.″

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