BONNEVILLE COUNTY, ID – An officer has died serving his community this week, and another officer’s life has likely been changed forever in more ways than one.
Monday morning, Bonneville County Sheriff’s deputies were responding to the scene of a rollover collision near the intersection of 9th Road South and Bone Road.
Two deputies were reportedly already on scene and in a foot pursuit, chasing a subject. It was just after 5am and still dark outside.
One of those deputies giving chase was 23-year-old Officer Wyatt Maser.
? Always remember: Deputy Sheriff Wyatt Maser, Bonneville County Sheriff's Office, Idaho https://t.co/pxqYTy1zsd pic.twitter.com/e4nRYd2hlr
— National Fallen Officer Foundation (@nationalfof) May 20, 2020
As a third deputy, Sergeant Randy Flegel, arrived and attempted to assist in the capture of the suspect, he struck Officer Maswer with his vehicle.
Officer Maser was transported to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. Unfortunately, he died of his injuries.
Officer Maser had been with the department for 13 months. Sheriff Paul Wilde said in a press release that Maser was known as a hard worker.
East Idaho News reported:
“A memorial fund had been set up by the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #8 at the ISU Credit Union in Idaho Falls under the name ‘Bonneville County FOP, Wyatt Maser Memorial Account.’
“Those wishing to donate can contact ISU Credit Union to make arrangements by calling (208) 235-7100.”
Here's what we know so far about this tragedy. We are not releasing the name of the deputy until the Bonneville County Sheriff's Office does. https://t.co/tl7SoGz9tN
— East Idaho News (@EastIDNews) May 18, 2020
Around noon on Monday, the deputy’s body was transported from the hospital to the Wood Funeral Home. A graveside service will be held for him on Friday at 3 pm at Fielding Memorial Park Cemetery.
We at Law Enforcement Today are very saddened to hear of this situation and we will hold the entire department and community in our prayers.
It’s hard to imagine how Sgt. Flegel must be feeling after such an incident and with all the pain and sadness the department and the community will be feeling during a tragedy like this, it’s particularly important to hold this deputy close to our hearts.
The original call consisted of a woman exited the vehicle that had crashed and was holding a machete. A sheriff’s office news release said that the woman ignored police orders to drop the weapon and continued walking down the road away from them.
The woman was arrested and taken to the hospital for a mental health evaluation.
The original sheriff’s office press release said:
“The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office is devastated by this event and our hearts are with the deputy’s family and friends. This is a tragic loss for them and our family of deputies.
“We very much appreciate the support of our community and the law enforcement and public safety agencies surrounding us that are assisting and have reached out for support.”
This is the first line of duty death for the BCSO in 82 years.
Law Enforcement Today has reported on multiple occasions of officers being struck by other vehicles, which seems to occur much too often while they’re deploying spike strips to end a vehicular pursuit.
To be clear, even having it happen just once is much too often.
Here’s a recent story we brought you on the topic.
We at Law Enforcement Today have received word that yet another officer has been killed in the line of duty today.
Bell County deputies were on a call assisting the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office with a vehicle pursuit around 1:45 am Sunday morning. Some sources say the vehicle was stolen, but that has not yet been confirmed.
Deputy John Andrew Rhoden was deploying spike strips on I-35 in Temple, when he was struck and killed.
We’re saddened to hear @bell_sheriff Deputy John Andrew Rhoden was killed this morning while assisting with a vehicle pursuit. We send our prayers to his family, friends and the community he served. #Texas pic.twitter.com/3bccI8wJlS
— Sheriffs' Assoc of Texas (@TXSheriffs) April 26, 2020
The department said he was hit by an 18-wheeler near exit 294.
Rhoden was 31 years old and had been with Bell County in 2010. In August 2014, Rhoden was promoted to field deputy and was most recently assigned to the patrol division’s midnight shift.
Rhoden’s father, Michael, also worked for BCSD as a Correctional Officer, from March of 1996 until March of 1998. After that, Michael joined the Belton Police Department.
We offer our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Bell County Sheriff Deputy John Andrew Rhoden. He was struck and killed by a vehicle while attempting to deploy spike strips during a vehicle pursuit of a stolen car.
EOW: Sunday, April 26, 2020#NeverForgotten pic.twitter.com/IdQavi2L48
— Chief Tracy Aaron (@MansfieldChief) April 26, 2020
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office said on their Facebook page:
“We offer our deepest condolences to the Bell County Sheriff’s Department, the Rhoden family, and the community who are suffering the loss of a beloved sheriff deputy. Every day, the family of our officers watch their loved one leave the safety of their home to protect us, not knowing if they will return.
We stand and grieve with Sheriff Deputy Rhoden’s family, friends, and colleagues.”
A survivor fund has been started by the 100 Club of Central Texas and can be found here.
Law Enforcement Today has been reporting far too many spike-strip related officer deaths this year.
At the end of March, Law Enforcement Today reported on an incident in Washington State.
Trooper Justin Schaffer with the Washington State Patrol was struck and killed during a pursuit.
WSP Police Chief John Batiste said that Trooper Schaffer was along the I-5 freeway in Chehalis when he was hit by a fleeing motorist wanted out of nearby Thurston County for robbery.
Schaffer had been deploying spike strips when the suspect vehicle crashed into him. He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries.
Schaffer was 28-years-old. He was with WSP for seven years and was a K-9 officer. Hi police dog, Frankie, was inside the vehicle at the time and did not suffer any injuries.
He was a husband to Sandra and the son of Sheila and Glenn, who was the longtime Police Chief of Chehalis Police Department. He also had a brother named Brandon.
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Trooper Justin R. Schaffer, who died in the line of duty today. Justin passed away at the age of 28 after serving 7 years with WSP. This is a time of enormous grief for our agency, family and the community he served. pic.twitter.com/9YV6SgJUgN
— WA State Patrol (@wastatepatrol) March 25, 2020
Trooper Schaffer’s line of duty death was the 30th in WSP’s history.
The suspect was a 39-year-old man, William Thompson from Olympia, who had robbed a convenient store on Monday. According to police, the suspect tried to take lighter fluid from the Pacific Mini Mart at 9100 Pacific Ave SE in Lacey, WA.
The store clerk followed Thompson outside after he tried to leave without paying so that he could take the thief’s picture.
Before he could take a photo, Thompson produced a gun and pointed it at the clerk and another customer. He then got into a truck, drove it at the clerk, who jumped out of the way, and left.
Deputies spotted the suspect vehicle on Tuesday and initiated a pursuit. Trooper Schaffer entered the pursuit to assist and was unfortunately struck and killed by Thompson.
Thompson continued driving for three miles after hitting Schaffer, until he crashed into a barrier.
Thurston County deputies barricaded the suspect vehicle on I-5 and Thompson refused to exit the vehicle at first. SWAT units arrived and were able to talk him out of the truck and take him into custody.
Thompson is facing charges of vehicular homicide, robbery, and several others.
During the brief press conference outside of the hospital, Chief Batiste said:
“We lost a great Trooper today.”
He also said that Trooper Schaffer had given a lot to hit community during his time at WSP.
Scaffer was born in Colorado and graduated high school in Washington. He had a criminal justice degree from Centralia College. He started his career with WSP as a Trooper Cadet. In 2016, he was certified as a Drug Recognition Expert and became a K9 Officer in 2018.
One thing to take into consideration during this time is the ban on large gatherings due to COVID-19 concerns. We all know that it is a huge honor to our fallen officers to get a large police funeral, but that may not be possible at this time.
WSP is going to be working with the family during this difficult time to determine how to best move forward to make sure Trooper Schaffer receives the honor he so deserves.
Please join us at Law Enforcement Today in praying for this officer, his wife, his parents, the community, and the rest of his blood and blue family.
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Unfortunately, this is not the only incident of an officer getting murdered while trying to end a pursuit. Law Enforcement Today brought you the story over the weekend.
She was only 33-years-old. And while trying to end a vehicle pursuit on Saturday, March 21, police say Officer Kaia Grant was murdered.
JUST IN: From @OhioAG on Officer Kaia Grant – “The void created by this officer’s sacrifice can never be filled and will never be forgotten … My deepest condolences are with the Springdale community.” – @wcpo pic.twitter.com/GFqNSfSkib
— Evan Millward (@EvanMillward) March 22, 2020
It happened at 8:30 p.m. in Springdale, Ohio. The chase started in a neighboring jurisdiction.
Police said they tried to stop an armed, suicidal subject who then took off… leading them on a chase onto I-275.
That’s where Officer Grant and a police sergeant were getting ready to deploy stop sticks near State Route 4.
Police say the driver intentionally swerved toward them, hitting them both.
Officer Grant was flown to a local hospital. She did not survive.
The sergeant suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Police said the suspect was arrested.
Officer Grant had served with the Springdale Police Department for eight years and leaves behind her parents.
Enough is enough.
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