By Tim Jimenez and Jericka Duncan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A 35th District Philadelphia police officer is in extremely critical condition this morning. Last night, while off-duty, authorities say he was hit by a car while riding with a motorcycle group.
Police Officer Milan Merke, 28, was part of a Midnight Run for Peace, an anti-violence motorcycle run in North Philadelphia.
“They go into the most crime-infested areas and show their presence and really try to get people to turn their lives around,” says Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.
But, the ride took a turn for the worst at around 8 p.m. according to police spokesman Lieutenant Ray Evers.
“(He was) on his motorcycle going Southbound on Broad Street at Master. A car turned, made a left hand turn westbound on Master and the officer on his motorcycle struck that vehicle.”
Community activist and ride organizer Richard Dukes was close to the accident, “and we heard this big bang. And when we looked around, everybody rushed down and he was on the ground, so we all got there and tried to administer whatever help we could.”
Merke was rushed to Hahnemann University Hospital. Sources say he’s being treated for bleeding in the brain, a broken femur and a bruised lung.
His family is joined by fellow officers and riders of the motorcycle group, praying for his recovery at the hospital.