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IMPD identifies officer, victim in deadly crash

Posted at 10:14 PM, Sep 25, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS -- An off-duty officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department struck and killed a pedestrian walking in the street Thursday night, and the officer may have been impaired at the time of the incident.

The officer has been identified as Bernardo Zavalza, a seven-year veteran of IMPD assigned to the Northwest District.

The crash happened just before midnight on Southport Road.

A 911 call was made reporting a man walking in the middle of Southport Road near Emerson Avenue.

Then Zavalza, in a marked IMPD car, hit the pedestrian, identified Friday as 53-year-old Ronny Bowling, killing him. The officer stayed at the scene.

An IMPD supervisor said they noticed a smell of alcohol on the breath of Zavalza.

He was taken to Eskenazi Health for blood tests. 

"We do have a zero-tolerance policy currently within IMPD," Lt. Rick Riddle said. "Anybody that is found to have violated that policy is subject to administrative discipline, up to, and including, criminal charges."

Officer Zavalza was placed on administrative leave, and his police powers were immediately suspended. He will be prohibited from any functions that require police powers, according to a press release from IMPD. 

Following an investigation, the case will be sent to the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office for possible charges. 


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