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A University of Pennsylvania Police Department patrol car hit another vehicle yesterday morning, sending a civilian to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania for treatment and evaluation and knocking over a traffic light.

The accident occurred shortly before 8:45 a.m. at the intersection of 41st and Walnut streets.

According to Deputy Chief of Operations Mike Fink, the police officer, who was responding to a call for backup involving a reckless driver on 42nd Street, was traveling westbound on Walnut Street when his car struck a black car at the intersection at 41st Street.

Both the officer and the woman who was driving the second vehicle were taken to HUP for treatment.

"The [male] officer was released and is at home in good condition," Fink said yesterday afternoon.

Although Fink would not identify the woman, he said early yesterday evening that she was being kept at HUP "overnight for observation for a laceration on her head." The woman was the only person in her vehicle when the accident occurred.

Police could not comment on which driver had a red light at the time of the accident. The patrol car's sirens, however, were sounded.

Fink said that an investigation into the accident is progressing. He would not give any details as to when the officer involved in the crash will return to work or whether he will face disciplinary proceedings.

According to Wharton senior John Matley, who lives in the vicinity of the intersection, the woman's car was "totaled."

"I saw it right after it happened," Matley said. "I heard screeching, came out and saw the street light on its side."

According to Matley, efforts to clean up the intersection took "about 3 hours," and both vehicles had to be towed.

The traffic light at the northwest corner of the intersection had not been repaired as of last night. Matley said the intersection has a checkered history involving accidents.

"It's a really bad corner," Matley said. "People speed out of there [and] run the light all the time."

The last car accident on or near Penn's campus to cause injury occurred in April, when a 15-year-old girl who was at Penn for a Model Congress event was struck by a driver near 36th and Chestnut streets. The girl's arm was broken as a result of the accident.

The last serious accident to occur near the intersection at 41st and Walnut streets was in March of 1998, when a black Honda Civic speeding west on the 4000 block of Walnut Street hit a 68-year-old man who happened to be crossing the street. The driver fled the scene.

In March of 1997, several people, including two University Police officers, were injured on Walnut Street between 41st and 42nd streets during an accident that involved several cars.

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