A police officer in Kentucky died after a driver, allegedly under the influence, crashed into her while she was conducting a traffic stop on Christmas Eve.
Deidre Mengedoht, 32, pulled over a truck in Louisville and was hit by another semi truck, ABC News reported, citing Louisville police chief Steve Conrad.
“The semi pushed the police car into the truck she had stopped,” he said. “There were four people in the pickup truck. None of them were seriously injured. Unfortunately, the detective’s car caught fire,” Conrad added.
Mengedoht, mother to a young son, was on the police force for seven years before her death on Dec. 24.
Roger Burdette, 60, faces murder charges in connection to the crash. He also faces charges for operating a vehicle while under the influence.
According to the Courier-Journal, he’s an employee at the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District and was driving a work semi truck at the time of the incident.
“Deidre—DeeDee, as she was known to her friends and colleagues—gave her life serving the community which is something she loved to do. Those who knew DeeDee would tell you that in her 32 years of life, and her seven and a half years with the police department, she always went above and beyond of what was asked of her or required of her,” Conrad stated, according to ABC.
“This is a tragic, tragic day, for everyone: for DeeDee’s family, for the men and women of the Louisville Metro police department, and quite frankly for everyone she touched in this community. I can’t imagine what her family is going through today, today of all days,” he continued.
Officials said Burdette “made no attempt to avoid collision with police vehicle” before the crash, the Courier-Journal reported. The man also admitted to taking multiple prescription drugs.
When the truck hit Mengedoht’s car, “the damage to her vehicle was catastrophic,” said Conrad.
Other details in the case are not clear.
Mayor Greg Fischer issued a statement calling on on Louisville residents to pray for the officer’s family. “At a time when so many of us are gathered with family in celebration of the holidays, this is a terribly sad day for our entire community,” he said in a statement, according to the Courier-Journal.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin called on drivers to be careful on the roads during Christmas and New Years.
“Heartbreaking news unfolding on this Christmas Eve involving a police officer who was assisting a stranded motorist,” he tweeted. “PLEASE be careful on the roads this holiday season as you travel across Kentucky…We want everyone to make it safely home including those who protect and serve.”
Louisville Metro Council President David James issued a statement offering his condolences to Mengedoht’s family. “We, on the Metro Council, are saddened to learn of the loss of one of our LMPD Family. This officer went to work today to once again patrol our streets and died doing an officer’s sworn duty, protecting our great city,” he said.
“This is especially difficult for all the men and women of the LMPD since it is happening during the holidays,” he wrote.