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Cop car runs over sunbathers, killing one

Miami officer placed on administrative leave

This Miami Beach police vehicle was taped off as part of an accident investigation Saturday.

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MIAMI BEACH, Florida (AP) -- A French tourist was in critical condition early Monday, two days after her sister was killed when a police sport utility vehicle ran the women over as they sunbathed on a beach.

Sandrine Tunc, 26, was in critical but stable condition in intensive care at Jackson Memorial Hospital, spokeswoman Conchita Ruiz-Topinka said. Her parents arrived in Miami late Sunday.

Tunc and her sister, Stephanie, 27, were struck by the SUV as they lay on a crowded beach Saturday, authorities said. Officer George Varon apparently didn't see the two as he searched for robbery suspects who had been reported nearby.

Varon, a seven-year veteran, was placed on administrative leave while the accident was under investigation. He wasn't using a siren and witnesses said the women didn't see his vehicle coming.

Police said the vacationing sisters lived in Britain, but did not say where in Britain or where they were from in France.

Few sunbathers were on the beach Sunday afternoon under overcast skies. Nothing remained at the accident scene except tire tracks.

Another European sunbather was killed in a similar accident in 1993. Christa Emilie, 67, of Berlin, was struck by a police car on New Smyrna Beach.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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