DETROIT (WWJ) – A 25-year-old Detroit police officer has died following a crash during a training exercise on the city’s west side.
Michigan Ave. was shut down in both directions at the scene of the accident, at Michigan and Clark, at around 11:30 a.m.
Police said Officer Darren Weathers was taken by EMS to Henry Ford Hospital following the crash. He was listed in critical condition, but Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the officer succumbed to his injuries a short time later.
Craig called Weathers “a hero, and one of Detroit’s finest.”
Officer Weathers was on duty in an unmarked vehicle, according to police, and was in the only one in the car at the time of the crash. Craig said there was a second vehicle involved in the accident, but the two or three people inside the other car did not suffer any serious injuries.
The chief said it’s unclear at this time if speed was a factor.
“I think, from the collision, the force pushed our officer’s vehicle into a metal pylon,” Craig said. “Certainly, striking that metal pylon at any speed can cause significant damage.”
Weathers — who went by the nickname “Lucky” — had been on the job for only about a year and-a-half at the time of his death.
The chief credited Weathers with saving the life of his partner, Officer Waldis Johnson, who was shot in the head while responding to a domestic violence call last spring. Weathers was awarded the Medal of Valor for his efforts.
“It was Lucky, it was Darren, who responded appropriately, decisively, courageously…resulting in the fatal shooting of the suspect,” Craig said. “He was then able to take his partner Waldis out of harm’s way, and we believe his courageous actions resulted in saving Waldis’ life.”
Johnson remains hospitalized.
Craig said an investigation is ongoing and more details about the training exercise and the crash would be released at a later time.
Weathers made the news last summer when heartwarming video of him running and playing with with some neighborhood kids went viral.
In a statement, Mayor Mike Duggan said we are all devastated by the sudden loss of Officer Weathers, whom the mayor said “displayed the kind of courage and humanity that exceeded his young age of 25.”
Weathers leaves behind a young daughter.
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