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Official dies after fall from atop moving car

A top city official in Phoenix died after crawling out of his fast-moving vehicle, standing atop its roof and extending his arms outward before tumbling off, authorities said Thursday.
/ Source: Reuters

A top municipal official in Phoenix died in a bizarre incident that saw him crawl out of his fast-moving vehicle, stand atop its roof and extend his arms outward before tumbling off, authorities said Thursday.

Kevin Keogh, a 28-year city employee who started as a management intern and became its top finance manager, died at the scene after he plunged from the vehicle and struck the pavement and a tree Wednesday afternoon in nearby Scottsdale, Arizona, police said. He was 55.

It was not immediately clear whether Keogh jumped or accidentally fell from the vehicle, which was traveling at about 50 miles per hour, police said.

“This is something you see in the movies, but this is not the movies,” said Sgt. Doug Dirren, a Scottsdale police spokesman. “The whole thing is, quite frankly, very bizarre.”

Police officers were called to the area by a motorist reporting that his Dodge Neon was rear-ended by a black Mercedes-Benz at a stop light, and that there was no driver inside. Officers found Keogh’s body about two blocks away, and witnesses said they saw him standing on his car.

Police said it was not known whether the death was accidental or a suicide, nor if alcohol or drugs were involved.

Phoenix City Manager Frank Fairbanks said he learned from Keogh’s wife that the longtime finance official was battling the fallout from a relapse of a tropical disease.

“His wife shared with me that the disease had come back in the last two months and was affecting many parts of his life,” he told employees in an e-mail on Thursday.

Keogh received numerous awards throughout his career, including being honored as the nation’s best municipal finance director and a top financial innovator by City and State magazine.