9-year-old bicyclist struck by off-duty Lancaster County deputy, Lincoln Police say

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A 9-year-old bicyclist was injured Wednesday when she was hit by Lancaster County’s chief sheriff’s deputy, Lincoln Police say.

The crash happened around 8 p.m. near Northwest 12th Street and Highland Boulevard.

Chief Deputy Ben Houchin, who was off-duty, struck the bicyclist in his personal vehicle, Police Chief Teresa Ewins said Friday.

She was taken to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, according to Ewins.

SEE ALSO: Mom of Lincoln 9-year-old hit by deputy says injuries are severe

Houchin told investigators that he looked down for a “split second” to change the radio station, the crash report said.

He then struck the girl, who “came out of nowhere,” according to the report.

Ewins said Houchin is cooperating in the ongoing investigation.

“As with any incident regarding Lancaster Sheriff’s Office employees, an internal investigation will be conducted to determine if policies were violated and they will take appropriate action,” Ewins said.

At this time, no citations have been issued.

Lancaster County Sheriff Terry Wagner released a statement Friday afternoon:

I was saddened to hear of the off-duty crash involving Chief Deputy Houchin earlier this week. I can speak for all of us at the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office in saying that we wish the child and her family a quick and speedy recovery. As a parent myself, I cannot imagine the distress this has caused for the child’s parents and family. I know that this event has also been difficult for Chief Deputy Houchin who also has young children of his own.

The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office has high standards for both the on and off duty conduct of its employees. As in all employee-involved incidents, we take steps to determine whether violations of agency policies have occurred and take appropriate action when they have.

Thus far, we have not been provided with any information to indicate that Chief Deputy Houchin violated any LSO policies during this incident. Chief Houchin was off-duty and operating a personally owned vehicle at the time of this crash. He immediately stopped at the scene, rendered aid, and cooperated with the Lincoln Police Department’s investigation of the crash. The preliminary information provided from their investigation indicates that although Chief Houchin looked down to change the station on his car stereo, there were no driver actions that contributed to the crash. The preliminary information also indicates that speed, drugs, and alcohol were not factors in the crash. To date, no citations have been issued.

While we continue to pray for a quick recovery for the child in this case, we will continue to work closely with the Lincoln Police Department as they complete their investigation. We take all employee-involved incidents very seriously and this case will be no different. We ask for the public’s patience as we work to determine the facts in this case.

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