Chief John Collins of the Englewood, Colorado Police Department has confirmed that Officer Jeremy Bitner, age 39, was struck and killed by a drunk driver while conducting a traffic stop.

Officer Bitner made a traffic stop on south Broadway Street near east Belleview Avenue.  The driver, Kevin Montoya, age 20, was asked to exit his vehicle.  Officer Bitner and Montoya were standing in the roadway possibly discussing the reason for the traffic stop.

One report indicates that Officer Bitner was issuing Montoya a traffic summons and was writing it out on the engine hood of his patrol unit when they were struck by a suspected drunk driver. Conner Donahue, age 20, sideswiped the patrol vehicle with his Nissan Pathfinder, striking both Officer Bitner and Montoya.  Montoya’s uncle and father were passengers in his vehicle.

Both passengers reported hearing the crash, seeing vehicle parts, and then both Montoya and Officer Bitner flying 20 feet up in the air for a 50 feet distance.  Both landed on the pavement and curb in front of Montoya’s vehicle.

Another witness to the accident followed Donahue, the drunk driver and called 911 to report the crash.  Donahue was stopped and arrested several minutes later by Littleton, Colorado police officers who reported that he was intoxicated at that time.  Donahue is being held on a $100,000 bond.

One report stated that Officer Bitner was unconscious and not breathing at the scene.  Montoya sustained a broken leg and head injuries.  Both Montoya and Officer Bitner were transported to Swedish Medical Center for treatment in critical condition.  Montoya remains hospitalized and has been upgraded to stable condition.  Officer Bitner succumbed to his injuries 11 hours later.

Officer Bitner was an eight year veteran of the Englewood Police Department and its first officer ever to be killed in the line of duty.  He was an Army Airborne Infantry veteran serving as a military police officer in Bosnia in 2005 and again in 2009. Bitner is survived by his wife and two children who mourn his loss.

Officer Jeremy Bitner, gone but never forgotten

EOW: May 28, 2012

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Englewood Officer Hit By Suspected Drunk Driver Dies