updated 6/12/2006 11:30:01 PM ET 2006-06-13T03:30:01

Two police officers patrolling the beach in an SUV ran over and killed a sunbather Monday, authorities said.

The officers did not immediately realize they ran over the woman and continued driving, police Cmdr. Tom Chronister said in a statement.

The officers, who were not immediately identified, had stopped on a small berm of sand to watch a swimmer whom they believed to be in distress. When they saw the swimmer was fine, they drove over the berm and apparently over the woman’s head, authorities said.

A witness called the Oxnard Fire Department to report the woman was bleeding on the beach just south of the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort. The woman appeared to be in her 30s and carried no identification, said Ventura County senior deputy medical examiner Mike Feiler.

Authorities believe the woman may have been a hotel guest since her towel belonged to the Embassy Suites.

An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday. The officers have been placed on paid leave pending an investigation.

Oxnard is located about 55 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

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