Police officer struck and killed during traffic stop – by a fellow officer avoiding a fleeing stolen vehicle

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MOLINE ACRES, MO – It’s one of the most heartbreaking freak crashes we’ve reported on in years.

A police sergeant with the Moline Acres Police Department responded to assist officers with the Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department on a traffic stop. 

As the sergeant was standing on the sidewalk, another Bellefontaine officer swerved to miss a separate fleeing stolen vehicle, striking the Moline Acres Sergeant.  Sadly, the sergeant later died from his injuries.

The fallen officer, Sergeant Herschel Turner, had been a police officer overall for twenty-two years, but only with the agency for the past five.   

The Police Chief for Moline Acres, Colonel Gregory Moore, said:

“His [Turner’s] unfortunate death occurred while serving our community.  He was an outstanding asset to the city of Moline Acres and the community.  He served the city proudly…Anyone who knew him knew that he would give you the shirt off of his back.  He was that type of guy.  He was the perfect attendance type officer, he loved his job, he did it well.”

Moore explained that the traffic crash occurred on December 5th on the border between Moline Acres and Bellefontaine Neighbors, an area in which each police agency frequently patrols and offer mutual assistance to one another. 

Moore said that Turner had stopped to assist a Bellefontaine Neighbors officer who was out on a traffic stop just before the crash occurred.

As Turner was assisting the Bellefontaine officer with the traffic stop, another Bellefontaine Neighbors officer was pursuing a stolen vehicle that was headed toward Turner.  The stolen vehicle drove westbound on Chambers Road and crashed into the Moline Acres Police marked vehicle. 

As the pursuing Bellefontaine Neighbors police officer came over a hill on Chambers Road, he saw the crash and swerved to avoid crashing into it.  In a freak accident, the pursuing Bellefontaine Neighbors police officer struck Turner, who was standing on the sidewalk.

Turner suffered significant injuries, two broken legs and facial fractures from the traffic crash.  He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he sadly succumbed to his injuries. 

Turner is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Moore is asking the community to remember Turner and his family as well as the Moline Acres Police Department in their thoughts and prayers as they work through this difficult time.  The agency will be providing grief counselors starting on December 7th to help anyone who is having difficulty dealing with this traumatic loss.

A nonprofit local group, called BackStoppers Inc., has announced that they will be providing financial assistance to Turner’s family during this trying time.  BackStoppers Executive Director Ron Battelle said:

“The dedication to service and protection from Sgt. Herschel Turner will never be forgotten.  He will be honored and remembered always.  Our deepest thoughts and prayers are going out to all who loved and knew Sgt. Turner.”

Losing a police officer is never easy, it is perhaps harder when that officer is killed by another law enforcement member. 

In this case, there may be no bad guy to arrest, there may be no legal ramifications for the at-fault officer.  There is only grieving and dealing with the loss of life.

Make no mistake, Turner’s family and that Moline Acres Police Department have a long way to go when it comes to moving on past Turner’s death.  But what also cannot be forgotten, is the severe guilt the Bellefontaine Police officer who struck him must be dealing with knowing that he killed a fellow officer.

There are no winners and no losers here, one agency has to bury one of their own while the other has to overcome the tragic mistake that led to Turner’s death.

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Officer Down: DC Metropolitan Police Detective shot and killed by wife in murder-suicide

December 2, 2020

WALDORF, MD – A Metropolitan Police Department detective was shot and killed Friday by his wife, who then turned the gun on herself, according to law enforcement officials.

Timothy E. Francis, 50, had been a D.C. police officer for 20 years and was most recently a detective in the homicide squad that investigates presumed natural deaths, according to D.C. police.

 

According to the Charles County sheriff’s office, Francis and his wife, Christina Lynn Francis, 41 were found in their Waldorf, Maryland home at approximately 6 p.m.

MPD Chief Peter Newsham said in a statement:

“Mourning the tragic loss of our colleague and friend is extremely difficult. Detective Francis spent two decades protecting the community from violence, and to learn that he was the victim of a homicide is heartbreaking.”

The police union expressed its sympathies, saying:

“Tim was a standup guy that always held his ground. We are all still reeling from this news. The MPD has lost a true detective today and he will not soon be replaced.”

The couple were found by Christina’s father, who became worried for his daughter after being unable to reach her all day.

 

Evidence recovered from the scene indicated Christina had fatally shot her husband before killing herself.

The shooting took place about 12 hours after Christina Francis posted a video of the couple’s April 2017 wedding in Santa Monica, California, along with statements that seemed to indicate trouble with the marriage.

One post, which was shared at 3:19 a.m., included a video from the couple’s wedding day. Along with the video, Christina wrote:

“This day meant everything to me. This marriage wasn’t put together for a great reason. couldn’t be more confident and stayed forever not giving up. I love you and what we had together. U you all I even want NEEDED (sic).

YOU AND I BELONGED TOGETHER AND ALWAYS. We had six years of experience and memories that should have taken presence (sic) over everything in everything we did but be got lost in petty s— you believed was a mistake. AMD tests immature.(sic)”

Neighbors Delancey Praylow and Demetrius Wilson told WUSA that the neighborhood was a friendly one and that they had hung out with Tim and Christina Francis at a get-together a few weeks ago in another neighbor’s yard.

“Good folks,” Praylow said. “She just shared a piece of cake with me at the gathering, and she was real nice.”

Wilson described Tim Francis as a family man who loved life and loved his children. “You never know what people go through,” Wilson told the station.

Although the facts and motivation surrounding this case are still unclear, the problem of violence within police families has been increasingly recognized as an important socio-legal issue. There is, however, a lack of empirical data on what has commonly been referred to as officer-involved domestic violence (OIDV).

 

There are no comprehensive statistics available on OIDV and no government entity collects data on the criminal convictions of police officers for crimes associated with domestic and/or family violence.

Prior self-reported officer surveys have been limited by the tendency to conceal instances of family violence and the interests of officers to maintain a “code of silence” to protect their careers.

 

The nature of police work includes toxic work environments and uncertain dangers which impart a unique type of occupational stress spillover or the transfer of stress from work life to home life for law enforcement officers. Work stress places officers at risk for negative health and psychosocial outcomes.

While it has been shown that occupational stress can compromise the well-being of police officers, little is known about how spillovers can affect other areas of life for officers, such as marital relationships.

 
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