Homeless woman killed by SDPD vehicles comforted by nurse during her final moments

Bernadette Grantling was once active in the San Diego community, but became "transient" and eventually died in an accident with two police cars. But someone was there for her in the end

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Witnesses to a police-involved accident that killed a young mother were quick to come to the woman’s aid during her final moments because they didn’t want her to die alone.

Bernadette Grantling was fatally struck June 8 by two San Diego Police Department SUVs as she was crossing a road. According to several published reports, the police cars were responding to a burglary but the call did not warrant using patrol lights, according to a department press release.

“A woman entered the road and was struck by the first police car,” the release states. “The second police car swerved to the right to avoid the collision and struck the female who had been pushed into the right lane.”

Grantling was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead. The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office said she “appeared to live a transient lifestyle.”

Melissa Bruce, a vacationing nurse from Oregon, held the victim in her final moments.

“I felt immense sadness,” Bruce wrote in a journal entry she later shared on Reddit. “Here was a woman that, despite choices or circumstances, was dying in the street with only a complete stranger to comfort her.”

Weeks would pass before the compassionate stranger learned the 33-year-old woman’s name. Prior to that she honored Grantling by getting a tattoo of a stethoscope over an African print scarf, like the one the victim wore that fatal night.

According to two obituaries, Grantling was raised by her adoptive parents, a Navy man and his wife, James and Rosemary Grantling. Rosemary died in 2001, when Bernadette was 15 years old and James died in 2009, the San Diego Union Tribune reports.

The family attended the San Diego’s Encanto Southern Baptist Church, where Grantling was baptized in August 2001 and served in various positions in the youth and young adult ministries, according to the report.

“Everybody loved her,” said Senior Pastor Robert Pope.

Grantling reportedly stopped attending the church a few years ago when her seemingly active life as an activist and avid blogger went dark and family and friends couldn’t track her down.

Her memorial was held at the church on June 29.

“She’ll be a part of the family forever,” Pope said.