There was a somber procession for a Pierce County deputy killed in the line of duty while answering a call for help from another deputy.
Now, the community is mourning his death and coming together to support his pregnant wife and child.
The deputy died in a crash on 112th Street East in Parkland, just eight minutes from the domestic violence call he was heading toward.
He has been identified as 25-year-old Cooper Dyson.
Investigators say speed and rain likely caused his death.
A kind of heaviness hung in the air, made weightier still by the darkness and the rain on this Saturday before Christmas.
The Pierce County sheriff’s deputy was killed as he raced to help another deputy on a domestic violence call that was going wrong.
“One of the people involved in the domestic violence had armed themselves with a shotgun,” said Detective Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County sheriff, “so our deputy called for backup.”
Troyer says the deputy was speeding when he lost control at about 3 a.m. Saturday.
“Had his lights and siren on,” he said. There were “no other cars on the road.”
They believe he hit a patch of water, hydroplaned, barrel-rolled and landed. Then his patrol car burst into flames.
“And unfortunately, he was trapped inside the car,” Troyer said. “By the time anybody got here, it was fully engulfed. The car burned and he lost his life.”
The deputy was married with one child; a second child is on the way.
“This family is changed forever,” said Keith Galbraith, who lives near the accident scene. He works in the domestic violence field and says he has seen the devastation that accompanies such tragedies.
“This is the time that the community needs to step up, I believe,” he said.
Someone, whose name is lost to history, once wrote: “not all men are created equal, but only the finest men become police officers.”
Inside a line of patrol cars, some of those men, likely women, too, accompanied one of their own to the Pierce County Medical Examiner, on this leg of his final journey.
A single bouquet of flowers was left at the scene of the deputy’s death, an expression of the community’s sadness.
“This is a tremendously sad loss,” Sheriff Paul Pastor said in a statement. “Our deputy was responding to help other deputies in a dangerous domestic violence situation. It is another hard reminder of the dangers and difficulties our deputies face."
Troyer says the loss is especially painful for the department, as Saturday marks 10 years since Deputy Kent Mundell and Sgt. Nick Hausner were shot while responding to a domestic violence incident near Eatonville. Mundell died seven days later from his wounds.
Dyson’s death Saturday is the first motor vehicle collision death of a Pierce County Sheriff’s deputy since 1941.
On Nov. 23, 1941, deputies Lawrence Bunce and Arthur Varco crashed with Tacoma police officers while responding to separate calls. Bunce, 29, was survived by his wife and son. Varco, 45, was survived by his wife, son and daughter. The two Tacoma officers involved in the crash, Paul Trent and Martin Joyce, also died from their injuries.
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